New BAME British book award, The Jhalak Prize, has unveiled its first ‘longlist’ naming 12 inspirational titles.
The Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year was created to celebrate the work of British BAME writers. The organisations aim is to promote the work of talented writers, diversifying British literature.
Among the books announced in the list are Chasing Stars by Malorie Blackman and Orange Boy by Patrice Lawrence. Also included in the list is Abir Mukherjee’s, A rising man.
Author and co-founder of the prize, Sunny Singh, says that the prize honours talent are often “ignored”. Singh added they are also “overlooked” and “erased”. Instead of pushing BAME authors into the margins, The Jhalak Prize prides diversity and equality.
The longlist features a diverse range of genres including crime and sci-fi. Books are also set in a diverse range of locations. Kei Miller’s, Augustown is set in Jamaica and mixes the ‘magical’ with the ‘everyday’. It gives a both a realistic and fictionalised portrait of Augustown.
Also nominated is Aarathi Prasad‘s, In the Bonesetter’s Waiting Room: Travels through Indian Medicine. The novel examines the overlap between traditional and conventional medicine in India.
Recognised in non-fiction is David Olusoga’s Black and British: A forgotten History. The book was published to accompany the BBC 2 series of the same name.
The prize launched last year and will be held annually. The overall winner will be awarded £1000. The prize challenges exclusion and will encourage and inspire writers to continue to fight for equality.
The organisation has accepted entries from all genres for all ages. Fiction, non-fiction and short stories are all embraced.
Alex Wheatle MBE, who is part of the judging panel, said that the quality of submissions has been “outstanding”.
The inspirational winner of the book prize will be announced in March 2017.