Jacob Ross was awarded the 2016 Jhalak Prize for The Bone Readers

The other books shortlisted for the inaugural Jhalak Prize were:

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)
Another Day In The Death Of America by Gary Younge (Faber)

Awarded annually, this prize seeks out the best books by British/British resident BAME writers and awards one winner £1,000. The prize is unique in that it accepts entries published in the UK in 2016 by a writer of colour. Entries can be fiction, non-fiction, short story, graphic novel, poetry, children’s books, YA, teen and all genres. The prize is 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 monocultural 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.

If you have any enquiries about the prize, please contact the Prize Director, Nikesh Shukla on nikesh@mediadiversified.org

‘When the marginalised demand structural change, our demands are fobbed off with being told to ‘do something for ourselves.’ The Jhalak Prize is precisely ‘doing something.’ The prize will recognize, reward and honour literary talent and achievement by British writers of colour who are often ignored, overlooked and erased. I hope it not only stops the patronizing suggestions that we aren’t taking action but also inspire the publishing industry to look beyond the present narrow margins.’ Sunny Singh, Author, Chair Of Judges

‘Given that the response to calls for equality and diversity, as echoed by Kristen Stewart in the run-up to the Oscars, patronisingly tell us to get up and do something, here we are, a group of like-minded souls, doing something. I’m sick of being interviewed about inclusion, doing panels about inclusion, tweeting hot takes about inclusion. This is me doing something. And I’m glad to be working with the excellent Media Diversified, which is one of the internet’s best resources for a diverse group of writers who don’t just write about race. We can do other things.’ Nikesh Shukla, Author, Prize Director


Is this prize racist? How would you feel about a prize for only white authors? No. Ultimately, we have chosen to put our time and money and resources into this prize, highlighting this inequality, redressing this particular imbalance, confronting this lack of representation. This prize is about celebrating marginalised writers, not excluding overrepresented ones. If you feel you want to put together a prize for only white writers, put your time money and resources into setting one up and we’ll let the chips fall where they may.

What exactly is a writer of colour? How do I know if I/my author is one? Person of colour is a term used to describe any person who is not white. The term encompasses all non-white groups, emphasising common experiences of racism. It typically refers to individuals of non-Caucasian heritage.

I am a self-published author. Can I enter? Of course. Look out for submission guidelines later on in the year.

My author is a writer of colour but they don’t live in the UK. Can they still enter? No. This country has a bad track record of nurturing homegrown talent. This prize is for British citizens or British residents. We’re hoping to highlight the need for more British writers of colour to be published in this country.

My book is digital only. Does that matter? No. Our judges will be accepting submissions both digitally and physically.

How many submissions can we enter? There is no limit on how many submissions a publisher can make as long as all submitted books meet the criteria.