Jhalak Prize 2020 longlist revealed

Jhalak Prize 2020 longlist revealed

The Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour has unveiled its longlist for 2020 with debut author Candice Carty-Williams making the list alongside children's authors Dean Atta and Jasbinder Bilan.

Celebrating its fourth year, the 2020 longlist features 12 books cutting across fiction, non-fiction, children’s, YA and poetry and cover topics including the hostile environment, Black diaspora in Europe and the power of drag. 

Carty-Williams' Women's Prize longlisted novel Queenie (Trapeze/Orion) is vying for the £1,000 prize and a specially created work of art by UK based artist of colour alongside Afropean: Notes From Black Europe (Allen Lane) by Johny Pitts and Surge (Chatto & Windus) by Jay Bernard while Atta's The Black Flamingo (Hodder Children’s) will go head-to-head with Costa Children's Book Award-winning adventure story Asha and the Spirit Bird (Chicken House) by Jasbinder Bilan.

Dialogue bagged a hat-trick of nominations with This Brutal House by Niven Govinden; Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton and Nudibranch by Irenosen Okojie all longlisted. Faber stablemates Golden Child by Claire Adam and Flèche by Mary Jean Chan were also recognised. 

The Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Became Scapegoats (Verso) by Maya Goodfellow and Suncatcher (Bloomsbury) by Romesh Gunesekera complete the longlist.

Prize director, Sunny Singh said: “In its fourth year, the Jhalak Prize has received the largest number of submissions in a wider range of genres including commercial women’s fiction, romance, travel and memoir. This is very good news. The range and number of submissions demonstrates that the industry is also taking more chances and putting bigger budgets behind publishing writers of colour. While we have a long way to go, this is a moment for celebration.”

Judge Nikesh Shukla added: “In its fourth year, this is a prize that continues to surprise and delight in equal measure. Incredible to see well-established names amongst debuts in a longlist that spans the very best fiction, non-fiction, poetry and kids and teen books by a writer of colour. It's a joy to see the canon being rewritten with each book. These are your new favourite books.”

Novelist and screenwriter Shukla will join poet and writer Roy McFarlane, journalist, critic and author Anita Sethi, and novelist Kerry Young on the judging panel. 

The 2020 work of art will be designed by a UK based artist of colour for the Jhalak Art Residency which shall be announced on 17th March. The prize will be awarded at a reception in central London on 26th March.

Last year’s winner was Guy Gunaratne for his debut novel, In Our Mad and Furious City (Tinder).