Today, we announce the winner of the Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour

Reni Eddo-Lodge, winner of Jhalak Prize, 2017.

Reni Eddo-Lodge, journalist and author, wins the £1000 prize for her incisive nonfiction debut, Why I ‘m No Longer Talking to White People About Race (Bloomsbury Circus).

The book, described by judge Catherine Johnson as “a thunderclap of a book” was chosen unanimously by an all-woman judging panel.

The judging panel, consisting of acclaimed author and co-founder of the award, Sunny Singh (chair), YA author Catherine Johnson, novelist Tanya Byrne, multidisciplinary writer and performance maker Vera Chok and travel writer and journalist Noo Saro-Wiwa, chose Reni’s book after much discussion and in very close contest.

Chair Sunny Singh described it as “timely and essential, thought-provoking, complex and yet completely accessible. A must read for every Briton”. Vera Chok commended its “balance between important social impact and personal account”.

The 2017 Shortlist

  1. Nadeem Aslam, The Golden Legend (Faber)
  2. Kayo Chingonyi, Kumukanda (Chatto & Windus)
  3. Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I ‘m No Longer Talking to White People About Race (Bloomsbury Circus)
  4. Xiaolu Guo, Once Upon a Time in the East (Chatto & Windus)
  5. Meena Kandasamy, When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife (Atlantic Books)
  6. Kiran Millwood-Hargrave, The Island at the End of Everything (Chicken House)

The winner was announced at a special event at The Authors’ Club on 15th March 2018.

In its second year, the Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour is an annual award seeks to celebrate books by British/British resident BAME writers, and the overall winner is presented with a prize of £1,000.

Trophy by Chris Bramble

This year’s winner also received a trophy, especially designed for the Jhalak Prize by the acclaimed ceramics artist, Chris Bramble. The trophy has been made possible by the generous support of novelist, Dorothy Koomson.

The shortlist consisted of fiction, YA, non-fiction, debuts, poetry and genre.

Sunny Singh, the prize co-founder and panel chair commented:

“The final decision was very difficult and we went back and forth right to the end. The entire shortlist is so extraordinary that any and all of them are deserving winners. But Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I ‘m No Longer Talking to White People About Race stood as an essential for Britain today.”

Additionally, judge Catherine Johnson echoed, “Reni’s is the book I want to put in everyone’s hand right now. It’s as simple as that. What a timely and important read.”

The Jhalak prize is unique in that it accepts entries published in the UK by writers of colour. These include (and are not limited to) fiction, non-fiction, short stories, graphic novels, poetry, children’s books, YA, teen and all other genres. The prize is also open to self-published writers. The aim is to identify, promote and celebrate the best writers of colour in the country.


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