Avon and Mushens Entertainment have revealed a 12-strong longlist of the inaugural Avon x Mushens Entertainment Prize for writers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds who are writing a commercial novel.
The competition was launched on 11th January this year and accepted submissions from unagented, unpublished writers of colour across the UK. The winner will receive a two-book deal with the HarperCollins division, a grant to support their writing career, and representation from Mushens Entertainment.
The prize is judged by the Avon editorial team and literary agent Silé Edwards (pictured) from Mushens Entertainment, along with author guest judge Imran Mahmood.
The longlist includes Spaghetti by Tamara Bugembe, Little White Lies by Farah Faqir, The Radiant Dark by Cheyanne-Joni Morris, Just So You Know by Betty-Maxine Onwuteaka and The Element of Trouble by Ivy Ngeow. Also featured is Double Blind by Perween Richards, The Country Ain't Built for Us by Ayo Okoya, Bully by Dee Spencer, House of Olympus by Ingrid Banerjee Marvin, alongside Almost Strangers by Farrah Yusuf, How to Divorce a Psychopath by Angelina Melwani, and Ben & Gia by Ipsita Deb.
Edwards said: "It’s been an utter joy to see such a dynamic and engaging collection of stories—really considered writing and great characters in each submission, with every story being compelling in its own way. There is such promise in the 12 titles, and I congratulate each of the writers longlisted."
Cara Chimirri, project leader at Avon, added: "The whole team at Avon were blown away by the incredible submissions we received, and our longlist truly wowed us with phenomenal writing, creativity and skilful storytelling. We would like to thank all authors who sent us their work. The standard was exceptionally high across the board."
The longlisted selection will be invited to an online seminar with editors and judges, after which the shortlist will be selected and asked to send in their full manuscripts, with a winner being announced in the autumn.