Taneja wins inaugural Clean Prose residency

Taneja wins inaugural Clean Prose residency

The inaugural Postscript Woman of Colour Residency at London co-writing space Clean Prose has been awarded to middle-grade writer Avantika Taneja.

The residency emerged from a partnership between Clean Prose, London’s first co-writing space which opened in October, and cultural anthology Postscript, to offer a yearlong residency for an emerging woman writer of colour working on her first independent project. Taneja gains full membership to Clean Prose and will be able to attend workshops and events at Clean Prose as well as all Postscript events free of charge throughout 2020.

The residency has been funded by successful bids on portraits from the MUSES exhibition commissioned by Clean Prose and created by Postscript, based at the co-writing space in east London.

During her 2020 residency, Taneja will work on her middle-grade novel, "which blends the magic of a child’s vivid imagination with the harrowing realities of Syrian refugees," residency organisers said.

Taneja said: "My writing has been influenced by my quest for ‘home’, a desire to privilege roots over the routes that defined my childhood and young adulthood. I lived in Indonesia and the USA before a mixture of whimsy, Anglophilia and postcolonial visa possibilities lead me to London."

She added: "Writing for children in particular is an outcome of my decade-long career in the educational charity sector, broadly dedicated to engaging children in a complex world and finding their voice within it. In writing for children, I enjoy entering a world where children have agency and their imaginations are celebrated."

Postscript founders Chinasa Chukwu and Elvira Vedelago were impressed by Taneja’s "undoubted and immersive talent".

The said: "We have no doubt that with the benefit of time and space to write and access to skill development workshops Avantika will develop really ambitious work that will capture us all."

From 2016 to 2017, Taneja was part of the first Megaphone cohort, a Publisher Association and Arts Council funded writer development scheme for emerging BAME children/YA writers developing their first novel. She has been commissioned to write 15 short stories for BBC Schools Radio "Playtime".