Independent publishing houses dominate this year’s shortlist for the Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour.
Four of the six shortlisted books come from smaller houses, with Bloomsbury bagging two nominations with Roma Agrawal’s Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures and Happiness by Aminatta Forna.
Two Roads made the list with hip-hop artist Akala’s Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of the Empire (Two Roads) and Penned in the Margins bagged a nomination for The Perseverance by poet Raymond Antrobus, which has also been shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize.
Literary imprint Tinder Press and Hachette Children’s have one book each. In Our Mad and Furious City, the Booker-longlisted debut novel by Guy Gunaratne (Tinder Press) and Waterstones Children’s Book Prize winner The Boy At The Back of The Class by Onjali Q. Rauf (Hachette Childrens) round off the shortlist.
Founded by the authors Sunny Singh and Nikesh Shukla in association with Media Diversified, with support from the Authors’ Club and a prize donated by an anonymous benefactor, the award exists to celebrate the achievements of British writers of colour. The £1,000 prize will be awarded on 1st May.
The judges for the 2019 prize are playwright and poet Sabrina Mahfouz, journalist and editor Sarah Shaffi, poet and producer Siana Bangura, and children’s and YA author Anna Perera.
Last year Reni Eddo-Lodge won the prize with Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race (Bloomsbury).