The 12 winners have been revealed for this year's Creative Future Writers’ Awards, celebrating prose and poetry from underrepresented writers.
This year’s awards saw a 10% increase in the number of entries from unpublished writers of Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds.
The highest accolade, the Platinum prizes, were awarded to women of Asian heritage — Shazia Altaf for prose and Rhiya Pau (pictured, top) for poetry. The judges praised both writers for their “warm” and “inventive” work.
Middlesbrough-based former librarian and teacher Altaf (pictured right) won for “Essential Thread”, the story of a sister visiting her brother in a mental hospital, while 28-year-old London-based Pau was selected for her poem “How Much Is Enough?”, a story of immigration, exposing the desperate longing for a life once lived that can never be fully captured again.
In poetry, Aischa Daughtery won Gold, Jess Murrain Bronze picked up the Silver prize, while Anna Himali Howard took Bronze. Jem Henderson was highly commended and Steve Roberts was commended.
For prose, Gold went to Amelia Zhou, Ulka Karandikar took Silver and Nanci Gilliver bagged Bronze. Farah Ahamed was highly commended and Lumière Chieh was commended.
Alongside £10,000 worth of cash and writing development prizes supplied by publishers, authors and development agencies, the winners are offered further training, mentoring, one to one support and other developmental opportunities.
Chief judge of the award, novelist Dorothy Koomson, said: “Judging the Creative Future Writers’ Award this year was a real pleasure and incredibly difficult at the same time. Everyone on the longlist and shortlist could have won, and it was such an honour to be able to read these writers when they are at the start of their careers. I loved the winning pieces and every single one of them is a worthy winner. I am so pleased for them. 'Essential Thread’ was clever and heart-rending as well as warm and well-written. The story belied the experience of its writer. I enjoyed it every time I read it.”
The team at Creative Future added: “This year our competition attracted over 1,200 entries from unpublished writers across the UK, many of whom have never entered a literary competition before. The quality of the entries we received was exceptionally high and we are thrilled to have discovered so many emerging, talented writers in our group of 12 winners. We are excited to continue working with them to develop their writing careers through the unique range of development opportunities that Creative Future is able to offer.”
An awards ceremony featuring the winning writers and prominent guest authors will take place at the Southbank Centre in London as part of the London Literature Festival on 27th October at 7.30 p.m.
Winning submissions alongside work by the 2021 award judges are also published in an anthology available in hard copy which can be purchased online.
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