Irenosen Okojie

Irenosen Okojie’s “Nudibranch” on UK’s Jhalak Prize 2020 longlist.

Irenosen Okojie’s Nudibranch is on the Jhalak Prize 2020 longlist announced on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.

The Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour is an annual literary prize awarded to British or British-resident BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) writers. The Jhalak Prize, launched in 2016, was created by writers Sunny Singh, Nikesh Shukla, and Media Diversified and hands out £1,000 to the winner. Previous winners of the prize have been Jacob Ross (2017), Reni Eddo-Lodge (2018), and Guy Gunaratne (2019).

The winners of the prize for 2020 are being judged by a panel of Roy McFarlane, Anita Sethi, Kerry Young, and Nikesh Shukla. The four judges have a plurality of creative talents between them having produced poetry collections, essay collections, novels, and other work. The panel has announced the following as the longlist for this year’s awards.

  • Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, Orion Books.
  • Golden Child by Claire Adam, Penguin Random House
  • The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, Hachette Children’s Group.
  • Nudibranch by Irenosen Okojie, Dialogue Books.
  • Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton, Little, Brown.
  • Surge by Jay Bernard, Penguin.
  • Asha and the Spirit Bird by Jason Bath, Chicken House Books.
  • Fleche by Mary Jean Chan, Faber & Faber.
  • The Hostile Environment by Maya Goodfellow, Verso Books.
  • This Brutal House by Niven Govinden, Little, Brown.
  • Suncatcher by Romesh Gunesekera, Bloomsbury.
  • And Afropean by Johny Pitts, Penguin.

Prize director, Sunny Singh said: “In its fourth year, the Jhalak Prize has received the largest number of submissions in a wider range of genres including commercial women’s fiction, romance, travel and memoir. This is very good news. The range and number of submissions demonstrates that the industry is also taking more chances and putting bigger budgets behind publishing writers of colour. While we have a long way to go, this is a moment for celebration.”

Judge Nikesh Shukla added: “In its fourth year, this is a prize that continues to surprise and delight in equal measure. Incredible to see well-established names amongst debuts in a longlist that spans the very best fiction, non-fiction, poetry and kids and teen books by a writer of colour. It’s a joy to see the canon being rewritten with each book. These are your new favourite books.”

The shortlist will be announced on April 14, 2020.

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