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Jhalak Prize


The Jhalak Prize and the Jhalak Children's & YA Prize seek to support and celebrate books by British and British resident writers of colour. The prize was founded by writers Sunny Singh and Nikesh Shukla. 

The Jhalak Prize and Jhalak Children's & YA Prize 2023

The Jhalak Prize has announced its seventh longlist, and the third longlist for the Jhalak Children’s & Young Adult Prize.

Featuring fiction, non-fiction and poetry, the Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year longlist comprises twelve thrilling titles, including both new and established writers. The Jhalak Children’s & Young Adult Prize twelve book longlist includes picture books, early readers, chapter books and young adult fiction. As with previous years, the longlists demonstrate the exceptional quality and breadth of work produced by British writers of colour today. The judges describe the lists as ‘a fantastic gift for readers’.

"It's the seventh year of the Jhalak Prize and although sometimes the challenges facing us seem insurmountable, there is also clear evidence of change and growth. Once again, I am struck by the quality and range of books submitted to us. These are testaments to the creativity, craft, imagination and most of all, literary excellence amongst writers of colour in Britain today."

Sunny Singh, Prize director

Find out about this year's judges below, and follow #JhalakPrize23 and @jhalakprize on social media for updates.

Prize dates:

Shortlists announced: 18th April

Winners announced: 25th May


Previous winners

Previous winners of the Jhalak Prize are Sabba Khan for The Roles We Play (2022), Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi for The First Woman (Oneworld) in 2021, Johny Pitts for Afropean: Notes from Black Europe (Penguin) in 2020, Guy Gunaratne for In Our Mad and Furious City (Tinder Press) in 2019, Reni Eddo-Lodge for Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race (Bloomsbury Circus) in 2018 and Jacob Ross for The Bone Readers (Little, Brown) in 2017. The inaugural Jhalak Childrens & Young Adult Prize was won by Patrice Lawrence for Eight Pieces of Silva (Hachette Children's) in 2021, and Maisie Chan was the 2022 winner for Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths.

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Our partnership with Jhalak Prize

At National Book Tokens, we're thrilled to be partnering with the Jhalak Prize for the third year in a row to help them increase awareness of the prize titles amongst booksellers, who have always been the best champions of books in their local communities. By distributing point of sale kits and social media assets to more than 100 bookshops, and amplifying their activities through tailored PR support, we help them to create instore displays and shout about the longlists, shortlists and winners from their online channels and in local press.



The Jhalak Prize Longlist 2023



The Jhalak Prize longlist 2023

None of the Above

by Travis Alabanza (Canongate)


by Mya-Rose Craig (Jonathan Cape)


by Angela Hui (Trapeze)

The Attic Child

by Lola Jaye (Pan Books)

The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho

by Paterson Joseph (Dialogue)

When We Were Birds

by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo (Hamish Hamilton)

Here Again Now

by Okechukwu Nzelu (Dialogue)

Losing the Plot

by Derek Owusu (Canongate)

The Room Between Us

by Denise Saul (Liverpool University Press)

I’m a Fan

by Sheena Patel (Rough Trade Books)

Hiding to Nothing

by Anita Pati (Liverpool University Press)

Another Way to Split Water

by Alycia Pirmohamed (Polygon Books)


"The books that I always wish people would write are being written -- and published. As parcel after parcel of Jhalak Prize books arrived at my home in Scotland, I was almost jumping with excitement…what a blaze of good thinking. In the longlist, there's a startling ability to balance reflection in solitude with the messiness of life; authentic, bloody, loving. These aren't minoritized writers made to fixate on 'identity'. These are writers of and from the world, most intimately, most widely."

Judge and 2022 Jhalak Prize shortlistee, Anthony Vahni Capildeo


The Jhalak Children's & YA Prize Longlist 2023


The Jhalak Children's & YA Prize longlist

John Agard’s Windrush Child

by John Agard, ill. Sophie Bass (Walker Books)

Creeping Beauty

by Joseph Coelho, ill. Freya Hartas (Walker Books)

In Our Hands

by Lucy Farfort (Tate)

These Are The Words

by Nikita Gill (Macmillan Children’s)

When Our Worlds Collided

by Danielle Jawando (Simon & Schuster)


by Patrice Lawrence (Barrington Stoke)

Mia And The Lightcasters

by Janelle McCurdy, ill. Ana Latese (Faber)

Onyeka And The Academy Of The Sun

by Tolá Okogwu (Simon & Schuster)

Ellie Pillai Is Brown

by Christine Pillainayagam (Faber)

The Haunting of Tyrese Walker

by J.P. Rose (Andersen)

Rebel Skies

by Ann Sei Lin (Walker)

Dadaji’s Paintbrush

by Rashmi Sirdeshpande, ill. Ruchi Mhasane (Andersen)


"For me, the Jhalak longlist represents the very best of writing coming out of the U.K. by writers of colour. I was taken to far off fantastical places, I learnt new things, I laughed and cried. The craft that went into all of these books was astounding."

Judge and 2023 Jhalak Children's & YA Prize winner, Maisie Chan


The Judges



The Jhalak Prize

Haleh Agar, Anthony Vahni Capildeo and Monisha Rajesh


Haleh Agar

Haleh Agar is a novelist and short story writer based in London. Her contemporary debut novel Out of Touch was published in April 2020. Haleh's short story 'Not Contagious' was Highly Commended by the 2019 Costa Short Story Award, her flash fiction won the Brighton Prize, and her narrative essay 'On Writing Ethnic Stories' won The London Magazine's inaugural essay competition. She was part of the 2021 judging panel for The London Magazine's short story prize, and is judging Aesthetica magazine's short story competition this year.


Anthony Vahni Capildeo

Anthony Vahni Capildeo FRSL is a Trinidadian Scottish writer of poetry and non-fiction. Capildeo's numerous publications include The Dusty Angel (Oystercatcher, 2021) and A Happiness (Intergraphia, 2022). Their interests include plurilingualism, silence, traditional masquerade, and multidisciplinary collaboration. They are Writer in Residence and Professor at the University of York,  and an Honorary Student of Christ Church, Oxford.Capildeo's work has been recognized by awards including the Forward Poetry Best Collection Prize, a T.S. Eliot Prize nomination, a Cholmondeley Award (Society of Authors), and OCM Bocas Poetry Prize shortlisting. They were shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize in 2022 for their psychogeographic eco-poetry collection, Like a Tree Walking, completed while a Visiting Scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge.


Monisha Rajesh

Monisha Rajesh is an author and journalist whose writing has appeared in Time magazine, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Sunday Times and Conde Nast Traveller. Her first book Around India in 80 Trains (2012) was named one of The Independent’s top ten books on India. Her second book, Around the World in 80 Trains (2019) won the National Geographic Travel Book of the year and was shortlisted for the Stanford Dolman Award. Her third book Epic Train Journeys is currently longlisted for the National Geographic Travel Book of the Year.


Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize

Yaba Badoe, Maisie Chan and Irfan Master


Yaba Badoe

Yaba Badoe is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and writer. A graduate of King's College Cambridge, she was a civil servant in Ghana before becoming a general trainee with the BBC. She has taught in Spain and Jamaica and worked as a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of African Studies at University of Ghana. Her short stories have been published in Critical Quarterly, African Love Stories and Daughters of Africa. Her first novel for adults, True Murder, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2009. Her first children’s novel, A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars (pb Zephyr), was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award in 2018 and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Award. Her latest YA novel, Lionheart Girl, was shortlisted for the Edward Stanford Children’s Travel Book of the Year 2022 and longlisted for Jhalak Children’s and YA Prize 2022. Yaba lives in London.


Maisie Chan

Maisie Chan is a children's author whose debut novel Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths (Piccadilly Press) won the Jhalak Children's and YA Prize and the Branford Boase Award in 2022. The book was also shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2022. It has also been longlisted for the Diversity Book Awards, the Tower Hamlet Book Awards, the Spark Book Awards, the Redbridge Award and the Big Book Award. It was also a Guardian Books of the Month pick in 2021. Her latest novel Keep Dancing, Lizzie Chu is out now with Piccadilly Press. She also writes the series Tiger Warrior under the name M. Chan. She has written early readers for Hachette and Big Cat Collins, and has a collection of myths and legends out with Scholastic. 


Irfan Master

Irfan Master is an award-winning author of novels, shorts stories, poetry and plays. His debut novel, A Beautiful Lie, (Bloomsbury, 2011) was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's book prize and the Branford Boase award for debut authors and translated into 10 languages. His second novel for young adults, Out of Heart (Hot Key, 2017) was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and UKLA award. Irfan's short fiction has also been published in numerous anthologies, most recently in The Cuckoo Cage (2022), Resist (Comma press, 2019), The Good Journal (2019) and the award winning, A Change is Gonna Come (Stripes, 2017). In 2019 he contributed an article highlighting the importance of greater representation in literature for young people that featured in Breaking New Ground, a round-up of British writers of colour produced by BookTrust and Speaking Volumes. 

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