Scholarships to support emerging writers launched at UEA in Mehta's memory

Scholarships to support emerging writers launched at UEA in Mehta's memory

The University of East Anglia (UEA) has launched two new scholarships for international writers in memory of Sonny Mehta, the editor-in-chief of Knopf and chairman of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing who died aged 77 in December last year.

The two new fully-funded annual scholarships for its Creative Writing MA programme are The Sonny Mehta India Scholarship and The Sonny Mehta Scholarship for Writers, which will be available for students from India, the Indian sub-continent, North Africa and the Middle East, as well as those who self-identify as Roma. Both scholarships will cover tuition fees and living costs, as well as a grant to support the costs of relocating to the UK for the course.

The scholarships have been endowed by Gita Mehta, who wanted to establish the scholarships in memory of her husband. Over the course of his career, Sonny Mehta published successful and influential authors, including eight literature and one economics Nobel laureates. His portfolio was diverse, with authors ranging from Toni Morrison to John le Carré and UEA graduates Kazuo Ishiguro and Ian McEwan, while including popular titles such as Jurassic Park and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, as well as Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch and memoirs by former US presidents George H W Bush and Bill Clinton.

UEA explained Mehta was well known in the industry for supporting emerging writers, and the new scholarship programme will honour his memory by encouraging voices who may not otherwise have the opportunity to be heard. UEA vice-chancellor Professor David Richardson said: "This is a wonderful contribution to UEA’s Creative Writing programme and we are immensely grateful to Gita Mehta for making this possible.

"Sonny Mehta was the most influential editor and publisher of his generation. His wisdom and range transformed the literary landscape. At UEA we will continue to champion that call for excellence and inclusivity, and enable more brilliant voices to be heard."

Professor Henry Sutton, UEA’s director of Creative Writing, said: "Our programme seeks and welcomes exciting new voices from around the world. Contemporary writing should be without borders, boundaries and prejudices. It strives to make sense of our world, and for all. Enabling students who might otherwise not have been able to develop their voices and be heard could not be more crucial."

This year marked the 50th anniversary of UEA's MA Creative Writing programme.