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 2017 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 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.
Following the prize’s inaugural year in 2016, the Equality and Human Rights Commission commented: “this award is the type of action which the Commission supports and recommends.”
2019 panel of judges
Anna Perera has written six children’s and YA books including the critically acclaimed Guantanamo Boy which was translated into more than a dozen languages and shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award and the Branford Boase, nominated for the Carnegie Medal, and adapted into an Arts Council supported play. Her book The Glass Collector was also nominated for the Carnegie Medal.
Sabrina Mahfouz is a playwright, poet, screenwriter and performer who has recently been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and is the recipient of the 2018 King’s Alumni Arts & Culture Award for inspiring change in the industry. She has been shortlisted for the Arts Foundation Award for Performance Poetry and has won a Sky Arts Academy Award for Poetry, a Westminster Prize for New Playwrights and a Fringe First Award.
Sarah Shaffi is a freelance literary journalist and editor. She writes about books for Stylist Magazine online, co-hosts the pop culture podcast Eat, Read, Stream, Repeat, is books editor at Phoenix, and is editor-at-large at independent publisher Little Tiger Group. She regularly chairs author events, and is co-founder of BAME in Publishing, a networking group for people of colour in publishing.
Siana Bangura is a writer, poet, performer and producer hailing from South East London. She is the author of critically acclaimed debut poetry collection, Elephant, and the founder and former editor of No Fly on the WALL, a platform centring the voices and experiences of Black British women and Black women living in the UK. Siana is the producer of ‘1500 & Counting’, a documentary film investigating deaths in custody in the UK. With experience in indie publishing, journalism, and campaigns under her belt, Siana’s wide portfolio of work focuses on bringing voices on the margins to the centre.
The prize will be open for submissions between 10th September 2018 and 15th December 2018 for books published between 1st January 2018and 31st December 2018. The books must have been published in the UK in that year, and originally published in English. The author of the work must have been resident in the UK for a minimum of the calendar year in which the book is eligible.
The prize is unique in that it accepts entries published in the UK in 2018 by a writer of colour. This includes (and is limited to) 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.
If you have any enquiries about the prize, please contact the Prize at email@example.com
Please be aware that due to work commitments, Nikesh will not be administering the prize this year, so if you have been in contact with him in the past, please note the new address, which will be administered by Sunny Singh and Jamilah Ahmed.
- Submission window: 10th September 2018-15th December 2018
- Longlist announcement: 28th February 2019
- Shortlist announcement: 30th March 2019
- Winner announcement: 1st May 2019
‘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.’ Sunny Singh, Author, Chair Of Judges
‘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
Terms and Conditions can be seen here. If you have any enquiries about the prize, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
2017 Winner: Reni Eddo-Lodge for Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race
2016 Winner: Jacob Ross was for The Bone Readers
The Jhalak logo was created by Taimour Fazlani
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.