The all-woman judging panel of the prize for book of the year has announced a remarkable shortlist

The Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour has announced its annual shortlist, featuring work crossing medium and genre. The prize, which was founded in 2017, works to highlight the quality and variety of work by writers of colour in contemporary Britain. Today’s shortlist comes from a celebrated longlist selected earlier this year.

The prize’s all-woman panel includes: acclaimed author and co-founder of the award, Sunny Singh, YA author Catherine Johnson, novelist Tanya Byrne, multidisciplinary writer and performance maker Vera Chok and travel writer and journalist Noo Saro-Wiwa.

The Jhalak Prize shortlist for books published in 2017

Nadeem Aslam, The Golden Legend (Faber)

Panel chair and writer Sunny Singh writes: “The Golden Legend is a beautiful yet painful rumination on our interconnected worlds and lives. Weaving together historical legacies, global politics, individual resilience and power of aesthetics, this luminous novel is one for our times as well as exquisitely timeless.

Kayo Chingonyi, Kumukanda (Chatto & Windus)

Singh adds: “Kumukanda is a lyrical, graceful and searing debut by a poet surely meant for great things. This is a fierce and furious call to resistance as well an elegant and complex study of culture, meaning and identity.

Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I ‘m No Longer Talking to White People About Race (Bloomsbury Circus)

YA author Catherine Johnson comments: “Why I ‘m No Longer Talking to White People About Race is a thunderclap of a book. It’s clear, strong, and accessible, the best sort of writing.  I know it’s a cliche but absolutely everyone should read this book.”


Xiaolu Guo, Once Upon a Time in the East (Chatto & Windus)

Travel writer Noo Saro-Wiwa writes: “This coming-of-age memoir takes us into communist China; a young girl’s struggle to escape the shackles of poverty and gender, and pursue her creative destiny. It will educate, amuse and sadden you, and inspire you to fight against the odds.”

Meena Kandasamy, When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife (Atlantic Books)

Performance-maker Vera Chok writes: “Relieved and heartened to encounter this wry, energetic writing. Presented as a portrait, this intelligent piece stands more as a fierce call against complicity.”


Kiran Millwood Hargrave, The Island at the End of Everything (Chicken House)

Novelist Tanya Byrne comments: “After the success of her debut, this was Kiran’s difficult second album and she didn’t give in to the pressure and has produced an astonishingly beautiful book that is sure to be a future classic.” 

The winner of the 2017 prize will be announced on 15th of March, 2018


If you enjoyed this, and want more like it, then please consider making a donation, it can be anything from £2 and takes no time at all. Or give what you can afford from £2 per month and become an MD member.

All work published on MD is the intellectual property of its creators, and requires permission to be republished. Contact us if you have any questions.



One thought on “Jhalak book prize for writers of colour announces shortlist

  1. What a fantastic shortlist! The books are just as diverse as the prize and authors it seeks to highlight. I’ve read (and loved) Karen’s follow up to A Girl of Ink and Stars and immensely enjoyed both of her stories. I’ve picked up and put down Reni’s book countless times but I will now pick it up to read it! I am looking forward to reading my way through this shortlist.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.