Finally We Have A BAME Author Only Book Prize

The Jhalak prize will hopefully shine a spotlight on an often overlooked selection of writers

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Last year lots of people, including the author Nikesh Shukla, noticed that the 15 strong World Book Night booklist was written by all white authors.

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Unfortunately, Nikesh Shukla and Spread The Word's 2016 study, 'Writing the Future: Black and Asian Authors and Publishers in the Market Place' already knew that an 'an old mono-culture prevails in publishing'.

Nikita Lalwani, Author of 'Gifted' and 'The Village'

According to the study, '74 percent of those employed by large publishing houses, and an alarming 97 per cent of agents, believe that the industry is only 'a little diverse' or 'not diverse at all'.'

Shukla had had enough of marginalised Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) writers being just that, so he compiled and edited one of the most praised books of 2016, 'The Good Immigrant'.

Vera Chok, an writer included in 'The Good Immigrant'

'The Good Immigrant' included only BAME writers and was, according to Shukla himself, 'a document of what it means to be a person of colour'.

Included in the collection was Riz Ahmed's (of 'Three Lions', 'The Night Of' and 'Star Wars: Rogue One' fame) groundbreaking essay, 'Typecast As A Terrorist.'

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The widely and critically acclaimed piece of writing followed Ahmed comparing the similarity between the casting couch and border control as a Pakistani Muslim actor.

Shukla's book was a great success, but his work isn't done yet.

He has just opened Britain's first BAME-only book award, complete with £1,000 prize, from an anonymous donor, and is open to a wide selection of genres.

According to the Guardian the award has a 12-strong longlist, headed by Malorie Blackman.

Shukla said this of the prize and his role in it,

'Given that the response to calls for equality and diversity, as echoed by Kristen Stewart in the run-up to the Oscars, patronisingly tell us to get up and do something, here we are, a group of like-minded souls, doing something.

I'm sick of being interviewed about inclusion, doing panels about inclusion, tweeting hot takes about inclusion.

This is me doing something.

And I'm glad to be working with the excellent Media Diversified, which is one of the internet's best resources for a diverse group of writers who don't just write about race.

We can do other things.'

We can't wait to have a read.

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