The UK’s Inaugural Jhalak Prize Book of the Year Longlist: Now 11 Titles

In News by Dennis Abrams

Having started with 12 titles, the Jhalak Prize Book of the Year longlist stands now at 11 books, its intent to honor writers of color in an industry that needs diversity.

By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2

‘Enthusiasm, Love, and Respect’
At Media Diversified, Hanna Zamurd-Butt reports that the Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Color has released its inaugural longlist.

This is the award founded by the UK’s Nikesh Shukla and Sunny Singh in association with Media Diversified for the purpose of recognizing and celebrating books by British and/or British-resident BAME writers. A winner is to be named at this year’s Bare Lit Festival, which has a similar goal of honoring writers of color.

The 11-title Jhalak longlist covers fiction, YA, nonfiction, debuts and short stories. It includes, as Danuta Kean writes at The Guardian, “a debut novel about inherited identity, a dystopian fantasy from a former children’s laureate, a study of Indian healthcare, and [a] radical history of black Britain.”

The Jhalak Longlist
  1. Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman (Doubleday Childrens)
  2. Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan (Sceptre)
  3. Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence (Hodder)
  4. Augustown by Kei Miller (W&N)
  5. The Girl Of Ink And Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Chicken House)
  6. A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker)
  7. Speak Gigantular by Irenosen Okojie (Jacaranda)
  8. Black And British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga (Macmillan)
  9. In the Bonesetter’s Waiting Room: Travels through Indian Medicine by Aarathi Prasad (Profile)
  10. The Bone Readers by Jacob Ross (Peepal Tree Press)
  11. Another Day In The Death Of America by Gary Younge (Faber)
One Withdrawal

The longlist started with 12 titles. Shortly after the announcement was made, author-comedian Shappi Khorsandi withdrew her book, Nina is Not OK, from the list.

As Sian Cain at The Guardian reports, Khorsandi sad that she was “massively flattered” to be longlisted but felt the honor was misplaced:

Singh, who chaired the award’s judges, expressed regret at Khorsandi’s decision in talking with Cain.

“The Jhalak longlist was compiled with much enthusiasm, love, and respect for the extraordinary quality and range of work that was submitted. The judges believe that each of the books on the longlist is there on literary merit and deserves as wide a readership as possible.”

The winner of the prizeis to receive a check for £1,000 ($1,200).

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.