Diverse Book Awards

Benjamin Zephaniah, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi and other writers of African descent feature on the shortlists for the Diverse Book Awards 2021 announced on September 20, 2021.

The Diverse Book Awards were created by Abiola Bello and Helen Lewis, founders of The Author School to celebrate the diversity of writing in the UK in 2019.

The judges for 2021 are Amy Mae Baxter the founder and editor-in-chief of Bad Form Review, Cassie Chadderton the World Book Day CEO, Ama Badu the FAB Website Editor and editorial assistant at Faber Children, and Alexia Pepper De Caires the owner of Back to Books Indie shop. The teen judges are Nandika Paheerathan and Nicky Anderson. This team will look through the texts in the longlists to select the best diverse book in the three age groups of Children, Young Adult, and Adult in the UK.

The longlists for the awards featuring writers of African descent were announced on July 27. The shortlists feature the following books;


  • Baller Boys by Venessa Taylor, illustrated by Kenneth Ghann (Hashtag Press)
  • Clean Up by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola, Nathan Bryon (Penguin Random House Children’s)
  • Too Small Tola by Atinuke, illustrated by Onyinye Iwu (Walker Books)
  • Windrush Child by Benjamin Zephaniah (Scholastic Children’s Books)
  • Zombierella: Fairy Tales Gone Bad by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Freya Hartas (Walker Books)

Young Adult

  • And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando (Simon & Schuster Children’s Books)
  • Boy, Everywhere by A. M. Dassu (Old Barn Books Ltd)
  • Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle (Andersen Press)
  • Eight Pieces of Silva by Patrice Lawrence (Hodder Children’s Books)


  • A More Perfect Union by Tammye Huf (Myriad Editions)
  • If I Don’t Have You by Sareeta Domingo (Jacaranda)
  • The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Oneworld)

The winner will be revealed at a ceremony in London, UK in October.