Abiola Oni has won the Guardian and Fourth Estate BAME Short Story Prize with her dystopian story "75".
Oni, a market researcher from London who spent part of her childhood in Nigeria, won the £1,000 prize for her story that was "unexpected, warm and clinical, all at once".
The prized was judged by Bim Adewunmi, culture writer at Buzzfeed; Melissa Cox, Waterstones’ head of books; writers Bernardine Evaristo and Nikesh Shukla; 4th Estate editor Anna Kelly; and Guardian women’s editor Nosheen Iqbal.
Judge Shukla said: "Reading the entries to the Guardian and 4th Estate BAME Short Story prize confirms what I knew all along: that there are some very talented writers of colour out there. And for whatever reason, they’re not finding representation, getting publishing deals or winning prizes. Which is why an award like this is so necessary."
He said of Oni's work: "She writes with confidence, and keeps a lot of plates spinning: family dynamics, loss, resignation, and a final cruel ending. ["75"] stood out as a great example of confident genre writing."
Speaking at The Bookseller's Author Day conference last year, Shukla said publishing should be as “demographically representative as possible” in a bid to tackle diversity.
He also said people in the industry needed to be “less defensive” about calls for more diversity. “We all have a collective responsibility to change things. It’s not your fault, it’s the industry’s fault, but we’re all responsible for that industry while we want to be a part of it.”
The prize was open to black, Asian, minority ethnic writers living in the UK and Ireland aged 18 and above. The story has been published on the Guardian website.
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