Hello, all! Today I’m going to be highlighting the Jhalak Prize and its nominees. The Media Diversified website has a lot to say about it:
Awarded annually, this prize will seek out the best books by British/British resident BAME writers and award one winner £1,000.
The prize is unique in that it will be accepting entries published in the UK in 2016 by a writer of colour. This will include (and not be limited to) fiction, non-fiction, short story, graphic novel, poetry, children’s books, YA, teen and all genres. The prize will also be open to self-published writers. The aim is the find the best writers of colour in the country.
Started by authors Sunny Singh and Nikesh Shukla and Media Diversified, with support from The Authors’ Club and a prize donated by an anonymous benefactor the prize exists, to celebrate the achievements of British writers of colour. That we live in a mono-cultural literary landscape has been proven time and again, with the Writing The Future report, commissioned by Spread The Word, the backlash following last year’s all-white World Book Night booklist and frustrations echoed by writers of colour who feel that their work is often marginalised unless it fulfils a romantic fetishisation of their cultural heritage.
Isn’t this such a fantastic idea? I’m especially excited about it because of Nikesh Shukla, editor of The Good Immigrant and author of Coconut Unlimited and Meatspace. I’m now also going to check out Sunny Singh, whose work I hadn’t heard of before.
This year’s nominees are:
- 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)
- The Bone Readers by Jacob Ross (Peepal Tree Press)
- Another Day In The Death Of America by Gary Younge (Faber)
I’ve read Speak Gigantular (review here), and Black and British was already on my TBR, but I am hugely interested by the rest of these, too! Another Day in the Death of America looks especially interesting – that is now firmly on my TBR. This year I’ve been reading quite a lot of literature by British BAME authors, and I hope that with this prize, more people will be doing the same. This is just another way in which publishing is (finally) focusing on diversity, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.
The winner will be announced at a special event at The Authors’ Club on 17th March 2017.