The Jhalak Prize: Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour
The Jhalak Prize and the newly launched 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. Previous winners are: Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi for The First Woman (Oneworld), 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 in 2017. The inaugural Jhalak Childrens & Young Adult Prize was won by Patrice Lawrence for Eight Pieces of Silva (Hachette Childrens) in 2021.
2021's winners were announced at a virtual ceremony on 25th May, in conjunction with The British Library.
At National Book Tokens, we're thrilled to be partnering with the Jhalak Prize for the second 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. In 2021 we distributed point of sale kits and social media assets to nigh on 100 bookshops so they could create instore displays and shout about the longlists, shortlists and winners from their online channels, and worked with 12 independent bookshop champions to promote individual titles from the shortlists.
Of the 2021 winners, prize cofounder Sunny Singh said, "The 2021 Jhalak judges have picked two books that are towering literary achievements, full of authorly courage, stylistic panache and great heart. Patrice Lawrence’s Eight Pieces of Silva and Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s The First Woman are very different books in terms of readers they address, the styles they develop and themes they explore but they both confront terrible realities, ask painful questions and experiment playfully with form, style and language. Most of all, they both find strength, compassion and resilience in places and times where these seem entirely impossible. In their complex, nuanced explorations of the human experience, Lawrence and Makumbi both find hope, joy and reasons to cherish and celebrate our shared humanity."
In honour of each prize winner, two Jhalak Artists in Residence have created bespoke artwork inspired by the winning titles. You can see the artwork below and read more here.