The winners of the Faber Andlyn Prize for undiscovered BAME writers and illustrators have been revealed, with Sarah Christou and Simji Park taking the top illustration gong while the writing award went to Nadia Attia and Ayesha Braganza.
The first prize for illustration was awarded jointly to Sarah Christou and Simji Park, with Special Commendations to María José Rodríguez Cano (María Coco) and Takae Mizutani.
The first prize for authors was also jointly awarded for the first time to Nadia Attia, who has written We are the Dead and Ayesha Braganza for A Girl Called Forest.
Special Commendations have gone to Sai Pathmanathan for The Poetic Wisdom Of The Taste Buds, Ten The Gioi for The Constellation of the Red Scorpion and Jhardine Love for Binky, the Truggles and the Triplet.
Shortlistees in both categories were: Tara Marron, Zoe Logan, Sheraz Arif, Sumana Seeboruth, Olivia Duchess and Muj Shah. In addition, Chiu-hsuan Huang, Sunita Chawdhary, Adrianne Rutherford, Sital Gorasia Chapman, Davina Tijani, Tola Okogwu, Erica Jo Kingsley and Mina Patria were commended for their entries.
The regular judging panel of Faber publisher Leah Thaxton and the Andlyn Agency’s Davinia Andrew-Lynch was joined by guest judges author Polly Ho-Yen, illustrator John Aggs and lawyer and business expert Margaret Casely-Hayford alongside Faber creative director Donna Payne and children’s art director Emma Eldridge.
In addition to the prize money (£500 each) and a donated membership for the Association of Illustrators, the winning authors and artists will receive a year of mentoring plus a selection of Faber books, and this year BookTrust also lends its backing to the prize.
BookTrust Represents will be offering support and promotion to all the awardees over the next 12 months. This includes opportunities to shadow already established authors and illustrators on school visits, and for all commended and highly commended awardees be guaranteed a place at a BookTrust Represents training workshop of their choosing.
Andrew-Lynch said: “This year, we found the judging an especially hard task and as a result the shortlist has led us to two sets of joint winners. The FAB Prize was created to unearth and showcase hidden BAME talent, and here our winners' material perfectly highlight the sheer range of quality storytelling which has been overlooked in the past. We have huge admiration for each of our finalists, and believe strongly that each of them will go on to have a fruitful writing or illustrating career in publishing.”
Thaxton praised the “wealth of talent” on show. “Sarah Christou has a gorgeously confident line, upbeat but classic too, with a nod to Nick Sharratt. Simji Park has a stunning texture to her work and a stillness that gives it a unique charisma all of its own. Nadia Attia is an urgent new voice for YA, arresting and absorbing, the storytelling felt effortless and Ayesha Braganza has a purity of voice and vision we found bewitching. Poignant but humorous, and most of all, thrilling.”