Exploration of Pakistan's largest city wins inaugural Portobello Prize

Exploration of Pakistan's largest city wins inaugural Portobello Prize

The inaugural Portobello Prize has been awarded to "electrifying new voice" Samira Shackle for Karachi Vice, a "fresh and thrilling" non-fiction exploration of Pakistan’s largest city.

According to the judges, this "glimpse of a city largely misrepresented and misunderstood is told with a clear sense of urgency and with a personal connection. It will place human drama at the fore as it follows the lives of several citizens of Karachi".

The judging panel consisted of Laura Barber, publishing director at Portobello Books, Sophie Lambert, agent at C+W, Sharmaine Lovegrove, publisher of Dialogue Books and Ben Rawlence, author of City of Thorns (Portobello).

The judges agreed that Shackle is an "exciting new voice" whose ambition echoes that of Portobello’s: "to share an eye-opening, riveting, page turning and ground breaking story that will prompt us to see people and places in a new light."  

Max Porter, editorial director at Portobello Books, said: "When my colleague Laura Barber first came up with the idea of the Portobello Prize, it was in the hope of finding a natural writer, with a bold and surprising way of telling stories. She could only have dreamed of a proposal as full of life, as expertly handled, as important, as sensitive and nuanced as Samira Shackle’s riveting Karachi Vice.

"We at Portobello are hugely grateful to the judging panel, and to our partners Foyles and C+W, for joining us on the quest to find this hugely exciting book by an author we believe has a very bright future. We also thank all the writers who entered the prize for proving to us what a lively, diverse, ambitious and exciting wealth of stories there are out there. It has been a privilege and a joy to read their work."

Shackle wins a book deal, representation by C+W, and publication by Portobello Books.

Shackle said: "I'm thrilled to have been chosen as the recipient of the inaugural Portobello Prize. I've been dreaming about this project for a long time, and I can't think of a better home for it than Portobello, which has published some of my favourite recent books."