Jhalak introduces children's & YA prize

News - Prizes Tuesday, 15th September 2020

Adult and children's prizes for writers of colour open for entries

The organisers of the Jhalak Prize, given for a book by a British writer of colour, have launched a new prize, for a children's or YA book. Both prizes are worth £1,000 to the winner, and are open for entries.

According to the Reflecting Realities report (CLPE), only 4% of children's books published in the UK in 2008 had ethnic minority protagonists. The Jhalak organisers also cite a BookTrust report showing that between 2007 and 2017, fewer than 2% of children's book authors or illustratrators were British people of colour.

The judges for the children's prize will be Verna Allette Wilkins, Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Candy Gourlay. The judges for the adult prize will be Yvonne Battle-Felton, Louise Doughty and Peter Kalu.

Sunny Singh, who co-founded the prize with Nikesh Shukla, said: "For the past five years, the Jhalak Prize has been focused on building and celebrating our community of writers of colour in the UK. 2020 has brought us unprecedented challenges but we have also found ever greater solidarity, support and hope in our community. In addition to the Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize, we have a host of new initiatives planned, all focused on boosting writers of colour, and we look forward to sharing them with our community in the upcoming months."

The 2020 Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour was won by Johny Pitts for Afropean: Notes from Black Europe (Allen Lane).

The closing date for submissions is 15 December. The prize longlists will be announced on 9 March, the shortlists will be announced on 13 April, and the winners will be announced on 25 May.