Hachette UK’s Mo Siewcharran Prize returns this year, setting out to discover unpublished fiction writers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
The initiative, named in memory of Nielsen Book’s former director of marketing and communications, aims to nurture talent from underrepresented backgrounds writing in English and offers the chance to be published by the Little, Brown and Abacus imprints.
Run as part of Hachette UK’s Changing the Story diversity and inclusivity programme, the prize was launched in 2019 and is returning after a break in 2020 owing to the pandemic, with submissions opening on 23rd April 2021.
Sharmaine Lovegrove, Dialogue publisher and patron of Changing the Story, said: “We founded the Mo Siewcharran Prize after John Seaton generously wanted to do something meaningful to honour his wife’s memory. Mo loved books and was passionate about helping people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds progress in publishing. These aims and values chime with Hachette UK’s strategic pillar of Changing the Story and it’s great the prize can continue after a pause. In 2019, we were fortunate to discover Sarvat Hasin through the prize and her brilliant novel The Giant Dark will be published by Dialogue Books in July. I am excited to see which writers come forth in 2021 with this unique opportunity to be published by Little, Brown.”
Clare Smith, executive publisher, literary, and Richard Beswick, publisher for Little, Brown and Abacus, added: ”We are delighted that Little, Brown/Abacus will be hosting the Mo Siewcharran Prize this year, after such a wonderful start with Dialogue Books – it’s a real honour. We love literary fiction that takes the reader into another place – emotionally as well as mentally — and are very much looking forward to discovering a fantastic new voice to join the list.”
Hachette UK’s THRIVE employee network will judge the first round. The shortlist, winner and runner-up will be judged by Smith and Beswick, alongside the inaugural winner of the prize, author Sarvat Hasin, agent Sophie Lambert and Ebyan Egal, co-chair of THRIVE.
Hasin, the inaugural winner, said: ”I'm delighted that the Mo Siewcharran Prize is coming back. This Hachette UK/Changing the Story prize is a bright example for the industry on how to champion the work of Black, Asian and minority ethnic authors without feeling tokenistic, focusing always on the individual talents and merits of the books it champions.”
Entrants must be previously unpublished, aged 18 and over and resident in the UK. Entry requirements are a 700-word synopsis of the plot of the novel, a list of the book’s characters and no more than 8,000 words — either the first three chapters or first 50 pages — to be submitted by 23rd May to the competition website.
The winner will receive £2,500 prize money plus the offer of a publishing deal, subject to contract, while second placed writers will get £1,500 alongside a book hamper. The third placed author will receive £750 plus a hamper of books. Further details can be found on the competition website.