Suleyman and Lawrence join 2022 Jhalak Prize judges

Suleyman and Lawrence join 2022 Jhalak Prize judges

Chimene Suleyman (pictured), Nii Ayikwei Parkes and Patrice Lawrence have been named among the judges of the 2022 Jhalak Prizes.

The Jhalak Prize is an annual literary award for British or British-resident writers of colour established in 2016 and founded by Sunny Singh and Nikesh Shukla in conjunction with Media Diversified and supported by the Authors' Club. It is open to fiction, non-fiction, short stories, graphic novels or poetry alongside self-published writers. A sister award, the Jhalak Children’s and YA Prize was announced in 2020 with the first prize awarded in 2021.

Judges for the 2022 Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour will be authors Stephen Thompson, Suleyman and Mary Jean Chan. Judging the second Children’s & Young Adult Prize are authors Sufiya Ahmed, Nii Parkes and Lawrence.

“All judges bring incredible knowledge, expertise and insight as well as their own varied literary output to the judging panels,” the organisers said. “They embody — in themselves, their support for fellow writers and their work – not only the highest literary quality but also the ethos of the Jhalak Prize.”

Each prize will seek the best literary production by British or British resident BAME writers and award each winner £1,000, as well as a unique trophy.

Jhalak Prize co-founder and director Sunny Singh said: “From our inception, the Jhalak Prize has been focused on building and celebrating our community of writers of colour in the UK while also working with key stakeholders to push for structural changes in publishing. We go into this cycle with a recognition of ever greater urgency regarding the changes required and are grateful to our partners for their support and allyship. We have a host of new initiatives planned for 2022, all focused on celebrating and supporting writers of colour and bringing their work to wider readership across the country.”

Both prizes will open for submissions between 15th September and 15th December for books published between 1st January 2021 and 31st December 2021. The books must have been published in the UK in that year, and originally published in English. The author of the work must have been resident in the UK for a minimum of the calendar year in which the book is eligible.

The longlists will be announced on 15th March 2022, with shortlists on 19th April and the winners revealed on 26th May 2022.

The Jhalak Prize will also continue its partnership with National Book Tokens for the second year running. The partnership, launched last year to help increase awareness and support among bookshops for Jhalak titles, saw nearly 100 bookshops across the country from independents to chains supporting the 2021 prize both in store and online.

Alex de Berry, m.d. for National Book Tokens, said: ‘We know that local bookshops excel at reaching into their communities to connect readers with exciting new voices, and we were thrilled to see them do just that last year with the books on the Jhalak Prize lists. We were extremely proud to help facilitate that connection in 2021 and look forward to working with the Jhalak Prize and bookshops again this year to reach even more readers with the 2022 titles.”