Akala and Hirsch make Jhalak Prize longlist

Akala and Hirsch make Jhalak Prize longlist

The Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour has unveiled its longlist for 2019, with rapper and writer Akala and Afua Hirsch making the list, which this year features entries from three indie publishers. 

Celebrating its third year, the 2019 longlist boasts 12 books about belonging. They do not just question belonging but stake a claim for being part of this country, its past, present and future, with all the complexity it entails. Books about architecture, the Windrush generation, colonialism and Singaporean B-movies are amongst the longlist vying for the £1,000 prize.

Roma Agrawal, Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures (Bloomsbury), Akala, Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of the Empire (Two Roads), Raymond Antrobus, The Perseverance (Penned in the Margins) and Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff (ed.), Mother Country: Real Stories of the Windrush Children (Headline/Hachette) are all featured on the longlist.

Yrsa Daley-Ward, The Terrible (Penguin), Aminatta Forna, Happiness (Bloomsbury), Guy Gunaratne, In Our Mad and Furious City (Tinder) and Afua Hirsch, Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging (Vintage) also make the list, alongside Damian Le Bas, Stopping Places: A Journey Through Gypsy Britain (Chatto & Windus), Roy McFarlane, The Healing Next Time (Nine Arches), Onjali Q. Rauf, The Boy At The Back of The Class (Hachette Childrens) and Sharlene Teo, Ponti (Picador).

Last year Reni Eddo-Lodge won the prize with Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race (Bloomsbury).

The judges for the 2019 prize are playwright and poet Sabrina Mahfouz, journalist and editor Sarah Shaffi, poet and producer Siana Bangura, and children’s and YA author Anna Perera.

Perera said of the longlist: “Liberated from the usual controlling influences, there is no bottom of the list for the top twelve books for the Jhalak Prize and many more that didn’t quite make it. The craving for good material ends here.”

Founded by the authors Sunny Singh and Nikesh Shukla in association with Media Diversified, with support from the Authors’ Club and a prize donated by an anonymous benefactor, the award exists to celebrate the achievements of British writers of colour. The shortlist will be announced on 5th April with the winner revealed on 1st May.