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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. 

Jhalak Prize

Founded by writers Sunny Singh and Nikesh Shukla, this year the Jhalak Prize is five years old and will be celebrating the writers on its lists across social media, using #JhalakPrizeat5. 

Previous winners include Johny Pitts for his exploration of African-European identity Afropean, Guy Gunaratne for his novel In Our Mad and Furious City, and Reni Eddo-Lodge for her hugely influential Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race.

This year's shortlists were announced on Tuesday 13th April, and the winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony on 25th May in conjunction with The British Library.


Judges for the 2021 prizes were:


The Jhalak Prize

Yvonne Battle-Felton, Louise Doughty and Peter Falu


Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize

Candy Gourlay, Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Verna Allete Wilkins


At National Book Tokens, we're thrilled to be partnering with the Jhalak Prize to help them increase awareness of the prize titles amongst booksellers, who have always been the best champions of books in their local communities. This year 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 and shortlists from their online channels.


Of the two prize shortlists, Jhalak Prize cofounder Sunny Singh said, "This year's Jhalak judges have selected – with much care and affection – two incredible shortlists that exemplify resilience, rebuilding, community and joy in literature. These are books that ask painful questions, are searingly honest in their confrontation with terrible realities, and courageously shine a light on aspects of human experience that often remains hidden. In doing so they offer much needed solace, inspiration and joy…for our times and into the future."

Find out more about the Jhalak Prize

The Jhalak Prize shortlist


Antiemetic for HomesicknessJhalak Prize Shortlist

by Romalyn Ante (Chatto Poetry)


by Catherine Cho (Bloomsbury Circus)

My Darling From the Lions

by Rachel Long (Picador Poetry)

The First Woman

by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Oneworld)

Are We Home Yet?

by Katy Massey (Jacaranda)

Rainbow Milk

by Paul Mendez (Dialogue Books)

The Jhalak Children's & YA Prize shortlist


The GA Picture AlphabetJhalak Children's & YA Prize Shortlist

by Nii Ayikwei Parkes & Avril Filomeno (Self-published)

When Life Gives You Mangoes

by Kereen Getten (Pushkin Press)

And the Stars Were Burning Brightly

by Danielle Jawando (Simon & Schuster)

Queen of Freedom

by Catherine Johnson (Pushkin Press)

Eight Pieces of Silva

by Patrice Lawrence (Hachette Children’s)

A Fox Called Herbert

by Margaret Sturton (Andersen Press)


The winners will be announced on 25th May at a virtual ceremony with The British Library. 

Jhalak Bookshop Champions


Since local booksellers really are the best placed to get new titles to readers, we asked 12 bookshops from up and down the country to champion one title each from the shortlists. Between now and the winners announcement in May, they'll be sharing videos, interviews and more celebrating those books on Twitter, using the hashtag #JhalakPrizeat5

The 12 bookshops and the titles they are championing are:


Jhalak Prize Shortlist

Antiemetic for Homesickness - Pages of Hackney, Hackney

Inferno - Griffin Books, Penarth Wales

My Darling From the Lions - Mostly Books, Abingdon

The First Woman - Newham Bookshop, Newham

Are We Home Yet? - October Books, Southhampton

Rainbow Milk - Lighthouse Bookshop, Edinburgh

Jhalak Children's & YA Prize Shortlist

The GA Picture Alphabet - Round Table Books, Brixton

When Life Gives You Mangoes - Five Leaves, Nottingham

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly - Storysmith, Bristol

Queen of Freedom - The Hastings Bookshop, Hastings

Eight Pieces of Silva - La Biblioteka, Sheffield

A Fox Called Herbert - Children's Bookshop, Muswell Hill


Win the Jhalak Prize or Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize shortlists

Win the Jhalak shortlists

To celebrate the announcement of the Jhalak Prize and Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize shortlists, we’re giving away sets of each list to six lucky Caboodlers!

Enter here

Book Doctor: Yvonne Battle-Felton answers your reading questions

Book Doctor: Yvonne Battle-Felton

Yvonne Battle-Felton, judge for the Jhalak Prize 2021 and author of Remembered, has joined us as our guest Book Doctor, prescribing the best reads for whatever you need.

Read more


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