Writer Heather Marks has won this year’s Quarto Translations Diversity Award, run by the Golden Egg Academy, for her story set in both 18th century Bristol and the Caribbean.
The award, launched last year, is for a manuscript that celebrates cultural diversity, including but not limited to ethnicity, gender or ability.
Imogen Cooper, who founded the Golden Egg Academy, received 40 entries but said Marks’ manuscript stood out for her writing and ability to manage two narratives.
The story is about a mixed-heritage girl in 18th century Bristol who follows a dangerous paper trail that leads to death and discovery about one of her ancestors.
Speaking about her novel, which is pitched at YA readers, Marks said: “I wanted to create a fictional world based in historical truth and populate it with ethnically and sexually diverse characters, just as it would have been in the 18th century ... so that children of colour are reflected in the literature they read, and that all children are educated on histories that are unknown but inform so much of our present."
The judges for this year’s award were Cooper, along with doctor of creative writing and children’s author Vanessa Harbour, editor Adamma Okonkwo and publisher Sarah Odedina.
Robin Bennett from Quarto Translations, which supports the prize, said: “We are very proud to sponsor this award because Quarto Translations firmly believes that is also what inclusive writing does. Children long to see themselves in books but are also drawn to new characters and notions.”
Marks will receive a year of free editorial support on the Golden Egg’s Academy foundations course.