Khatun and Lo scoop FAB prizes for undiscovered talent

Khatun and Lo scoop FAB prizes for undiscovered talent

Reba Khatun and Yu-Hua Lo are this year’s winners of the Faber Andlyn BAME (FAB) Prize for undiscovered writers and illustrators.

Khatun won the writing prize with her middle grade novel Made in Bangladesh, described by the judges “a powerful and immediate piece of storytelling, vibrating with truth and rooted in a familiar context of family. We felt Reba was a writer who showed tremendous promise, originality and versatility”.

Lo, an illustration student at the Cambridge School of Art, won the illustration prize with her picture book, Pepe Wants to Fly.

“The decision was unanimous that Yu-Hua should be our first place winner,” said the judges. “Her character, Pepe the mole, is adorable, perfectly rendered in soft pencil. She uses a beautiful soft limited colour palette with clever and varied compositions, often playing with scale, keeping the reader engaged. It is pitch-perfect.”

Maliha Basak was given the second prize in the writing competition with Rumblebumble, a middle grade adventure story, and Allen Fatimaharan came second in the illustration competition after submitting a portfolio of work.

The first prize winners were given £500 plus a year of mentoring with Faber and Andlyn, and the second prizes will have a consultation meeting to discuss their work.

The FAB Prize was launched in December 2016 by Faber Children's and the Andlyn Agency to discover new authors and illustrators from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds.

Previous winners include Rohan Agalawatta, who has now signed with agent Ben Illis at BIA. Highly commended author Aisha Bushby, who also contributed to the Stripes anthology A Change is Gonna Come, has signed a two book deal with Egmont. Avantika Taneja, another highly commended author, has been writing short story commissions for BBC Schools Radio.

On the illustration side, Poonam Mistry, a commended illustrator, has signed with Alice Sutherland-Hawes. Her first picture book, You're Safe With Me, was published by Lantana Publishing in May. Highly commended illustrator Olivia Duchess created a book cover for HarperCollins, and has also illustrated a book for LifeWay.