Last month, Sunny Singh and Nikesh Shukla launched The Jhalak Prize for the book of the year by a writer of colour. Awarded annually, this prize will seek out the best books by British/British resident BAME writers and award one winner £1,000.
All genres will be eligible, including fiction, non-fiction, short story, graphic novel, poetry, children’s books, YA and teen. The prize will also be open to self-published writers. The aim is not only to the find the best writers of colour in the country but to establish a clear pipeline toward literary achievement for home grown talent.
Founded by novelists Sunny Singh and Nikesh Shukla and non-profit organisation Media Diversified, and supported by the Authors’ Club as well as an anonymous benefactor who provided the prize money, The Jhalak Prize is part of a growing momentum for change in UK publishing.
Singh and Shukla said: “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.
“There is a business case for having more writers of colour on our bookshelves. According to Spread The Word’s report, BAME communities represent £300m worth of disposable income. This prize will, at its core, not be celebrated for the diverse list of books it will choose to honour, because diversity will be at its core.”
The judging panel will be announced in August and will include authors, journalists and broadcasters of colour. Submissions will be accepted between 1 September and 30 November, and the shortlist will be announced at the end of January 2017. The winner will be announced in February 2017, in tandem with the BareLit festival.
To find out more about the prize, visit Media Diversified’s website here.