Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Alex Wheatle, Dapo Adeola and Nathan Bryon are among those shortlisted for the Diverse Book Awards, celebrating inclusive titles across adult, YA and children's fiction.
Now in its second year, the awards recognise books published by UK-based authors and publishers. More than 100 submissions were entered for the awards, founded by writing community The Author School in 2019.
Makumbi, a former Windham-Campbell prize winner, has been shortlisted in the adult fiction category for The First Woman (Oneworld). Her second novel tells the story of Kirabo, a young girl whose search for her mother leads her to discover what it means to be a woman throughout history, and the implications for her future.
Wheatle's Cane Warriors (Andersen Press), an historical novel about the slave uprising against British plantation owners in Jamaica in 1760, has been nominated in the YA category.
Clean Up! by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola (Penguin Random House Children’s) is listed for Children's Fiction. The story tackles plastic pollution, and is the follow-up to Look up! (Puffin) which won the age three to six category at the UKLA Awards, the annual national book prize judged by teachers.
Abiola Bello, co-founder of the Author School, said: “It was a difficult task to get the shortlist together - all the judges had their favourites. We’re so happy with what we’ve come up with and know that any one of these amazing books could go on to win the Diverse Book Awards 2021. We’re excited to reveal the winners and want to thank all the booksellers, librarians, readers and publishers who have supported the longlist and who we hope will now help spread the word about the shortlist. We have had so much amazing support for the Diverse Book Awards and hope everyone can buy books from this amazing list.”
The three winners from each category will be announced on 21st October via an online awards ceremony. Each will receive a bundle of prizes including a trophy, a six-month PR and marketing package, a feature and virtual event with Back To Books, editorial content in Bad Form and Pen&Inc, and the opportunity to be part of two author panel events.
The children's winner will have their book featured as part of World Book Day Book Club and a school visit organised by World of Diversity. The YA winner will be part of Wigtown YA Literary Festival and a school visit organised by World of Diversity.
Helen Lewis, co-founder of The Author School and publicist at Literally PR, said: “We are so grateful to the amazing judges for their time deciding on this important longlist and shortlist. Reading so many incredible books and being faced with the tough decision of which should make it into each list is a very tough job. The competition this year is fierce, which is a good thing. We have already heard amazing feedback from librarians, teachers, readers, parents, booksellers, authors and publishers regarding the longlist. We cannot wait to see what kind of reception the shortlist gets.”
The shortlists in full:
A More Perfect Union by Tammye Huf (Myriad Editions)
Broadwater by Jac Shreeves-Lee (Fairlight Books)
If I Don't Have You by Sareeta Domingo (Jacaranda)
Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud (Faber)
The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain (HQ)
The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Oneworld)
Truth Be Told by Kia Abdullah (HQ)
And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando (Simon & Schuster)
Boy, Everywhere by A M Dassu (Old Barn Books)
Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle (Andersen Press)
Eight Pieces of Silva by Patrice Lawrence (Hodder Children’s Books (Hachette)
Hideous Beauty by William Hussey (Usborne)
Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann (Penguin Random House Children’s)
Wonderland by Juno Dawson (Quercus Children’s Books (Hachette)
Baller Boys by Venessa Taylor (Hashtag Press)
Clean Up! by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola (Penguin Random House Children’s)
Do You Know Me? by Rebecca Westcott, Libby Scott (Scholastic Children’s Books)
Little Badman and the Time-Travelling Teacher of Doom by Humza Arshad and Henry White (Penguin Random House Children’s)
Too Small Tola by Atinuke, Onyinye Iwu (Walker Books)
Windrush Child by Benjamin Zephaniah (Scholastic Children’s Books)
Zombierella: Fairy Tales Gone Bad by Joseph Coelho, Freya Hartas (Walker Books)