The winners of the 2023 Jhalak Prize have been announced at the British Library in London. The prize, which is awarded to writers of the global majority, was given to Travis Alabanza for their fictional novel None of the Above, whilst Danielle Jawando won the Children’s & YA Prize for her novel When Our Worlds Collided.
The Jhalak Prize is an annual literary prize for British or British-Resident writers of colour, established in 2016. The prize is awarded to the best book of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry by a writer of colour published in the UK in the previous year.
Who are the Jhalak Prize 2023 winners?
Travis Alabanza’s None of the Above is a memoir about growing up genderqueer in the UK. The book has been praised for its honesty, vulnerability, and humour. The Jhalak judges said that Alabanza’s book was “thoughtful, full of compassion and wit.”
Danielle Jawando’s When Our Worlds Collided is a powerful coming-of-age story about chance encounters, injustice and how the choices that we make can completely change our future. The Jhalak judges said that Jawando’s book was “powerfully written with memorable characters.”
What is the prize about?
The Jhalak Prize is an annual literary prize awarded to British or British-resident BAME writers. Around £1,000 is awarded to the sole winner. The prize launched in 2016 and was created by writers Sunny Singh, Nikesh Shukla, and Media Diversified. It is supported by The Authors’ Club and an anonymous donor, and is the second literary prize in the UK to only accept entries by writers of colour, following the SI Leeds Literary Prize for BAME women writers, which was first awarded in 2012. We were lucky enough to interview The Good Immigrant editor Nikesh Shukla in season two.
The Jhalak Prize is named after the Hindi word for “glimpse”. The prize aims to “celebrate the vastness of talent, ambition and creative vigour that is often overlooked by an industry that has yet to decolonise its gaze and acknowledge that we do not live in a world of lactified centres and rainbow peripheries.”
The award has played an important role in raising the profile of BAME writers in the UK. The prize has helped to ensure that their work is seen and read by a wider audience, and it has inspired other literary prizes to follow its lead.
Here are the previous winners of the Jhalak Prize:
- 2017: Jacob Ross, The Bone Readers
- 2018: Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
- 2019: Guy Gunaratne, In Our Mad and Furious City
- 2020: Johny Pitts, Afropean
- 2021: Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, The First Woman
- 2022: Sabba Khan, The Roles We Play
It is a valuable award that helps to promote the work of BAME writers in the UK. The prize is a reminder that there is a wealth of talent and creativity from BAME writers, and it is an important step towards a more diverse and inclusive literary landscape.
The Jhalak Prizes are awarded by a panel of judges that includes writers, journalists, and academics. It has been supported by a number of organisations, including the British Library, the London Review Bookshop, and the Wellcome Trust. Don’t miss Dr Sunny Singh at HistFest 2023 this year. Not to mention, the International Booker Prize 2023 winner was also announced this week – so check it out.