Sharma Taylor is one of the winners of the Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2020 announced on October 29, 2020.
Wasafiri, founded in 1984, is a UK-based magazine for international contemporary writing renowned for publishing some of the world’s most distinguished writers. The magazine’s Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize was launched to support new writers, with no limits on age, gender, nationality or background in 2009. It is handed out in the categories of fiction, poetry, and life writing. Some of the previous winners of the prize have been Deirdre Shanahan (2018), Ndinda Kioko (2017), and Niamh MacCabe (2016).
The 2020 edition of the prize is judged by publisher and editor Kadija Sesay (Chair) alongside Penguin editor Simon Prosser (Fiction), Guardian journalist Aida Edemariam (Life Writing), and prize-winning poet Raymond Antrobus (Poetry).
This panel announced the shortlists for the different categories on October 6. Today they announced the winners of the awards and in the fiction category Sharma Taylor ‘s How you make Jamaican coconut oil, has been announced the winner.
‘With enormous vigour and zest and skill it introduces you to a voice, to a setting, to a family, and it does it absolutely beautifully’ said fiction judge and Penguin editor Simon Prosser. ‘This story just totally leapt at me and gripped me from the first moment.’
A Jamaican living in Barbados, Sharma was most recently: a finalist for the Elizabeth Nunez Award in the Brooklyn Caribbean Literary Festival’s Caribbean Fiction Writers Competition 2020, shortlisted for the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and won the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment Award for an unpublished collection of short fiction.