January 5 2017
Britain’s first ever award for writers of colour has produced an eclectic and intriguing long list made up of well-known names, debut splashes and left field voices…
EVER wondered who are the leading non-white authors in Britain at the very top of the game?
You no longer need to scour the shelves or imagine what talent is going unrecognised in a predominantly white publishing industry.
The longlist for Britain’s first dedicated literary prize of non-white authors has been revealed.
As the organisers behind the Jhalak Prize say: “The Longlist consists of fiction, Young Adult, non fiction, debuts short stories and genre and is an exciting snapshot of the incredible array of writers of colour in Britain at the moment.”
Sunny Singh (pictured right), chair of the five-strong judging panel, added: “It has been an absolute joy and privilege to read through the submissions.
“The first ever Jhalak Prize longlist demonstrates the strength, range and promise of being produced by writers of colour in the UK today.”
A cash prize of a £1,000 goes to the winner.
The longlist is as follows
• “Chasing the Stars” by Majorie Blackman (Doubleday Childrens)
• “Harmless Like You” by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Sceptre)
• “Nine Is Not OK” by Shappi Khorsandi (Ebury)
• “Orangeboy” by Patrice Lawrence (Hodder)
• “Augustown” by Kei Miller (W&N)
• “The Girl Of Ink And Stars” by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Chicken House)
• “A Rising Man” by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker)
• “Speak Gigantular” by Irenosen Okojie (Jacaranda)
• “Black And British: A Forgotten History” by David Olusoga (Macmillan)
• “In the Bonesetter’s Waiting Room: Travels through Indian Medicine” by Aarathi Prasad (Profile)
• “The Bone Readers” by Jacob Ross (Peepal Tree Press)
• “Another Day In The Death Of America” by Gary Younge (Faber)
Another of the judges, Catherine Johnson, added: “If you’re a reader and want some incredible recommendations, just have a look at this list. Every one of these books is a brilliant experience.”
The prize was created – as many authors of colour in Britain have a struggle to get published and then few of their books ever find their way onto literary prize shortlists and authors of colour often feel overlooked or ignored by a book industry which remains overwhelmingly white, middle class and predictable in its tastes.
The prize is unique in that looks across all genres and is open even to self-published writers.
The aim, simply put, say organisers, is to “promote, and celebrate the best writers of colour in the country” for books published in 2016.
As well as Johnson, a Young Adult writer and novelist and academic Sunny Singh who is chair of the judging panel, there is Alex Wheatle MBE, author and poet, who is perhaps better known as the Brixton Bard, Musa Okwonga, poet and broadcaster and Yvvette Edwards, the Booker longlisted novelist, on the panel.
The final shortlist will be unveiled on February 6 and the winner will be declared during the Bare Lit Festival which is expected to take place in March.
The Prize is founded by authors Sunny Singh and Nikesh Shukla, in conjunction with the website, Media Diversified and supported by the Authors’ Club and an anonymous benefactor.