Jhalak Prize

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Jhalak Prize

Modifié : Juin 21, 2019, 11:53am

Yesterday I ran across an article about a relatively new British literary prize that I had not heard of before, the Jhalak Prize:

"Awarded annually, this prize seeks out the best books by British/British resident BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) 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."

This year's Jhalak Prize longlist consisted of the following books:

Roma Agrawal, Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures
Akala, Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of the Empire
Raymond Antrobus, Perseverance
Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff (ed.), Mother Country: Real Stories of the Windrush Children
Yrsa Daley-Ward, The Terrible
Aminatta Forna, Happiness
Guy Gunaratne, In Our Mad and Furious City
Afua Hirsch, Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging
Damian Le Bas, Stopping Places: A Journey Through Gypsy Britain
Roy McFarlane, The Healing Next Time
Onjali Q. Rauf, The Boy At The Back of The Class
Sharlene Teo, Ponti

The books by Agrawal, Akala, Antrobus, Forna, Gunaratne and Rauf were chosen for the shortlist, and In Our Mad and Furious City, which was also selected for last year's Booker Prize longlist, was awarded the prize last month. I read and loved it, along with the books by Akala and Forna, and I just started reading Brit(ish) early this moring. I'll look into the other books on this year's longlist and ones in the previous two years, and pay close attention to this prize in the future.

The Guardian: 'The London book of our lifetime': Guy Gunaratne wins Jhalak prize

Jan 12, 9:42am

Thanks for posting this, though I'm a little late to the party. It's a wonderful notion but I wonder whether by being so intentionally broad in accepting virtually anything that is being published they're not indirectly harming recognition of some highly deserving authors within each of the categories. In other words, if a fiction book wins, all of the excellent books in non-fiction, YA, poetry, etc. must go unrecognized except, presumably, for their appearance on the longlist. And, as someone who reads (and reads about books) a lot, the mere fact that the prize is so unknown is distressing.

Jan 12, 12:58pm

>2 Gypsy_Boy: I guess if they've only got $1,000 to award they figure it wouldn't be prestigious enough if they broke it down. But you're totally right: it's crazy to compare fiction, various kinds of nonfiction, poetry, YA.

Fév 10, 9:00am

>2 Gypsy_Boy:, >3 susanbooks: Sorry, Dave and Susan; I'm just now seeing these messages! You raise a great point, Dave, and I think that Susan is probably right in saying that the £1,000 prize is too small to divide amongst books in the different categories. Starting last year there are now two prizes, one for Children's & YA literature and the other for adult books, both of which are worth £1,000. Hopefully the prizes will gain greater attention, and attract one or more sponsors who will increase the prize amounts.

The winner of the 2020 Jhalak Prize was Johny Pitts for his book Afropean: Notes from Black Europe, which I purchased in 2019 after I saw it on display in Daunt Books in London, and read — and enjoyed — last year. Here's the entire longlist:

Johny Pitts - Afropean: Notes From Black Europe (Allen Lane)
Jasbinder Bilan - Asha and the Spirit Bird​ (Chicken House)
Mary Jean Chan - Flèche​ (Faber)
Irenosen Okojie - Nudibranch​ (Dialogue)
Candice Carty-Williams - Queenie​ (Orion)
Yvonne Battle-Felton - Remembered​ (Dialogue)
Jay Bernard - Surge​ (Chatto & Windus)
Dean Atta - The Black Flamingo​ (Hodder Children’s)
Claire Adam - Golden Child​ (Faber)
Maya Goodfellow - Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Became Scapegoats​ (Verso)
Niven Govinden - This Brutal House​ (Dialogue)
Romesh Gunesekera - Suncatcher (Bloomsbury)

The longlists for this year's awards will be announced on 9 March.

Fév 10, 9:37am

>4 kidzdoc: I read Irenosen Okojie's first novel Butterfly Fish when it was published in 2015 and the writing had definite promise but was extremely episodic and it wouldn't surprise me if she's does better writing short fiction.

Fév 10, 9:53am

>5 spiralsheep: Thanks, spiralsheep. I'm completely unfamiliar with Irenosen Okojie, but Nudibranch was chosen as one of the Must Read Books of 2019 by The Guardian, so I'll look for it when I return to London, hopefully this summer or autumn.

Modifié : Fév 10, 10:07am

>6 kidzdoc: I hope it's easier to find than Butterfly Fish was! I had to endure several order cancellations before I finally got my hands on a copy.

Fév 10, 10:07am

>4 kidzdoc: Anyone who wants to try before they buy can find four poems from Mary Jean Chan here, with at least one from Fleche:


And a poem from Surge here:


Jay Bernard also has several poems, including rather earlier work, here:


And Mary Jean Chan has a couple of earlier poems here:


Fév 10, 10:19am

>8 spiralsheep: Fabulous! Thanks for those links.

Modifié : Fév 16, 1:12pm

Thanks. I agree and think Susan is probably right. Still, it seems such a pity.
I am intrigued to see Romesh Gunesekera, a writer I have long enjoyed (largely), on the longlist. I think I have Suncatcher; have to open it up!