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The 2018 Jhalak Prize Shortlist

This is an exciting prize, a prize that when you first see the longlist and now the shortlist you say YES, this is dynamic literature, this is what's happening today, this is what I want to read about! 

In its second year, the Jhalak Prize was founded by authors Sunny Singh and Nikesh Shukla and Media Diversified, and celebrates the best books by British writers of color. The entry categories for the £1,000 prize are vast, and include fiction, non-fiction, short story, graphic novel, poetry, children’s books, YA, teen and all genres, published (or self-published) by a writer of color in the UK.

The prize brings attention to works which are often less published, less marketed and less reviewed, as a 2016 study by writer development agency, Spread the Word revealed: "UK publishing is overwhelmingly White and middle class and that affects Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic novelists’ chance of publication."

The inaugural 2017 prize was won by the Anglo-Caribbean author Jacob Ross for his crime novel The Bone Readers.


The winner of the 2017 prize will be announced on 15th of March, 2018

The Golden Legend

For weeks, someone has been broadcasting people's secrets from the minarets of the city's mosques, striking fear into the hearts of Christians and Muslims alike. Then when shots ring out on the Grand Trunk Road, and Nargis's husband, Massud, a fellow architect, is caught in the crossfire, she is unable to confess to him her greatest secret before he dies. But as the anonymous broadcasts continue, is it merely a matter of time before her past is exposed? The Golden Legend is a timely and luminous story of corruption, resilience and the hope that only love and the human spirit can offer.

Kumukanda

Kumukanda is the name given to the rites a young boy from the Luvale tribe must pass through before he is considered a man. The poems of Kayo Chingonyi's remarkable debut explore this passage: between two worlds, ancestral and contemporary; between the living and the dead; between the gulf of who he is and how he is perceived. Underpinned by a love of music, language and literature, here is a powerful exploration of race, identity and masculinity, celebrating what it means to be British and not British, all at once.

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

In 2014, award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote about her frustration with the way that discussions of race and racism in Britain were being led by those who weren't affected by it. She posted a piece on her blog, entitled: `Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race'. Her words hit a nerve. The post went viral and comments flooded in from others desperate to speak up about their own experiences. Galvanised by this clear hunger for open discussion, she decided to dig into the source of these feelings. Exploring issues from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race, Reni Eddo-Lodge offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism. It is a searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary exploration of what it is to be a person of colour in Britain today.

Once Upon A Time in the East

Xiaolu Guo meets her parents for the first time when she is almost seven. They are strangers to her. When she is born her parents hand her over to a childless peasant couple in the mountains. Aged two, and suffering from malnutrition on a diet of yam leaves, they leave Xiaolu with her illiterate grandparents in a fishing village on the East China Sea. It's a strange beginning. A Wild Swans for a new generation, Once Upon a Time in the East takes Xiaolu from a run-down shack to film school in a rapidly changing Beijing, navigating the everyday peculiarity of modern China: censorship, underground art, Western boyfriends. In 2002 she leaves Beijing on a scholarship to study in Britain. Now, after a decade in Europe, her tale of East to West resonates with the insight that can only come from someone who is both an outsider and at home. Xiaolu Guo's extraordinary memoir is a handbook of life lessons. How to be an artist when censorship kills creativity and the only job you can get is writing bad telenovela scripts. How to be a woman when female babies are regularly drowned at birth and sexual abuse is commonplace. Most poignantly of all: how to love when you've never been shown how.

When I Hit You

Seduced by politics, poetry and an enduring dream of building a better world together, the unnamed narrator falls in love with a university professor. Moving with him to a rain-washed coastal town, she swiftly learns that what for her is a bond of love is for him a contract of ownership. As he sets about reducing her to his idealised version of an obedient wife, bullying her and devouring her ambition of being a writer in the process, she attempts to push back - a resistance he resolves to break with violence and rape.

The Island at the End of Everything

Amihan lives on Culion Island, where some of the inhabitants, including her mother, have leprosy. Ami loves her home, with its blue seas and lush forests, Culion is all she has ever known. But the arrival of malicious government official Mr Zamora changes her world forever: islanders untouched by sickness are forced to leave. Banished across the sea, she's desperate to return, and finds a strange and fragile hope in a colony of butterflies. Can they lead her home before it's too late?

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Jacqueline is a journalist primarily, but not only, interested in fiction and non-fiction with equal passion.

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