Lit in Colour is launching a new competition, the Creative Student Prize, to encourage young people to explore their relationship with reading.
Applications open on 5th July for people aged between 14 and 18 across the UK and Ireland. Applicants are asked to respond creatively to the question: "What place do books have in your world?"
Penguin Random House said: “There is no ‘correct’ answer to the prompt; instead applicants are encouraged to approach the question in any way they like – whether they’re looking forward to a summer of reading or cannot remember the last time they read a book outside school.”
Applicants can submit either an essay, short story, poem, video, illustration or artwork and will be assessed on the originality and quality of their application.
It follows a report last month from Lit in Colour, the campaign run by Penguin Random House and The Runnymede Trust thinktank, which showed a stark lack of diversity on the English GCSE curriculum. The research showed less than 1% of GCSE students in England study a book by an author of colour and just 7% study a book by a woman while only 0.1% study a woman of colour. The report also reflected a widespread appetite among students and teachers for a more representative selection of books to be available and taught in schools.
A final shortlist will be shared with an external judging panel, to be revealed throughout the application window. In partnership with Adobe, the winner will receive a free MacBook Pro with Adobe software installed. Two other finalists will receive Beats by Dre headphones and a Penguin audiobook package, while a shortlist of 10 will have their responses published on the Lit in Colour website.
Lit in Colour has also created a resource pack for teachers interested in encouraging their students to participate before the end of term, which can be downloaded from this link.
Zaahida Nabagereka (pictured), Lit in Colour programme manager, said: “Through Lit in Colour we are really interested in understanding how young people feel about books, and want to support them to find great texts that they find relevant and engaging. Young people have been through so much upheaval over the last 18 months, and the Creative Student Prize gives them the opportunity to have their voices heard.”
Nabagereka also wrote about the findings of the curriculum report last month in a blog for The Bookseller.
The Lit in Colour campaign was established in 2020 to explore how to increase UK students’ access to books by writers of colour and those from minority ethnic backgrounds and ensure the teaching and learning of English Literature better reflects contemporary culture and society.
Applications will close on 17th September. For more information, visit the Lit in Colour website.