ML Sowe wins the Best Aspiring African Writer Award 2023

African Idols
2 min readJul 4, 2023
Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe — Gambian writer

The African Writers ran the Best Aspiring African Writer Awards for Young Writers across Africa from 2016 to 2022. For 6 years, the award inspired thousands of youth to get creative and put pen to paper, and shone a light on the incredible talent and original storytelling across Africa.

At the forefront of the award was AWA’s own Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe. At the time of the award’s establishment, Modou Lamin Sowe was already a seasoned and respected author having published titles such as Don’t Judge The Book by the Cover and The Throne of The Ghost. During his tenure as award patron, Sowe went on to write some of Africa’s modern classic poems and travelogues, such as AfriKa Not AfriCa, The Refugee, and The Mosquitoes. Much of his work was award-winning and adapted worldwide for stage and screen, and he was named a National Treasure in 2021.

This profile however is not all award winners remember when they think of their experiences of the award. In addition, they reflect on a quiet, talented and interested person, who gave his time each year to meet with AWA’s youth, to listen to their stories and who simply inspired them to write.

Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe has many legacies, but we celebrate the encouragement and inspiration he provides year on year for aspiring young authors across Africa. For 6 years, his patronage of our young writers award has sparked, in countless children, a love of writing and a passion for reading — a legacy that will endure across generations.


Modou Lamin Sowe, whose pen name is Modou Lamin Age-Almusaf Sowe, is a Gambian scholar and writer. He has written four books: Don’t Judge the Book by the Cover (self-published), The Throne of the Ghost (Malthouse Press Ltd. and African Books Collective), The Memories of Reflection (self-published), and AfriKa Not AfriCa (Ukiyoto Publishing). He was awarded the African Literature Award 2021–2022, presented to him by the International Association of African Authors and Scholars (IAAAS), based in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Popularly known as ML, he is an award-winning Gambian novelist, playwright, and poet regarded as the youngest dominant figure in modern Gambian literature.

He is the founder of the Young Writers Association of the Gambia (YWAG) and the former Secretary-General of the Writers Association of the Gambia (WAG).

Read Modou’s award-winning poem in the African Writer Magazine:



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