Musa (1998, Jurisprudence) has been elected after publishing seven books across a range of genres

Musa Okwonga sits at an outdoor cafe table and looks into the camera with a slight smile. Trees and buildings can be seen behind him.

Founded in 1820 ‘to excite literary talent and reward literary merit’, the RSL is one of the oldest learned societies in the UK. The RSL Fellowship encompasses approximately 600 of the most eminent authors working in the English language today, who are elected by a panel of RSL Fellows. The selected writers are elected by the RSL Council as FRSL, and are invited to sign the historic Roll Book using a pen belonging to a range of famous authors including George Eliot, Lord Byron and Andrea Levy.

This year is the first of the two-year RSL Open Programme, which will eventually elect 60 Fellows from communities under-represented in UK literature. Recommendations for Fellows were open to the public, and subsequently evaluated by a panel of RSL Fellows, chaired by Damien Barr.

Musa came up to St John’s in 1998 to read Law, and has since found success as an author, poet, journalist and musician, amongst many other talents. He has written seven books, ranging from football and children’s books to novels and a memoir, and co-hosts the Stadio football podcast. He revisited St John’s in February to open our Celebrating Diversity portrait exhibition and performed a wonderful poem about arriving at St John’s as a student, which can be seen in the video below.

When informing us of the award, Musa commented “I see St. John's as a key reason why I have been able to make the career that I have as a writer”. We’re so delighted to have been a small part of Musa’s journey, and will be eagerly watching to see where it takes him next.

Please join all of us here at St John’s in warmly congratulating Musa on this incredible achievement.