Jhalak Prize 2020

First awarded in March 2017, the Jhalak Prize, seeks to celebrate books by British/British resident BAME writers. 

The prize is unique in that it accepts entries published in the UK by writers of colour. These include (and not limited to) fiction, non-fiction, short stories, graphic novels, poetry, children’s books, Young Adult, teen and all other genres. The prize is also open to self-published writers. 

The winner of the Jhalak Prize 2020 will be announced on 26 May!
Why not try one of them today? We even have some of them available as eBooks, that you can download through the BorrowBox app with your Hampshire Library card!

Not sure how to download the app? Check out our helpful videos for iOS devices here, and for Android devices here!
If you prefer written instructions, you can find those here.

Shortlist:

The Black Flamingo: Amazon.co.uk: Atta, Dean, Khullar, Anshika: Books

The Black Flamingo
by Dean Atta

A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen – then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers – to show ourselves to the world in bold colour. ‘I masquerade in makeup and feathers and I am applauded’.

Currently not available as an eBook

Remembered​​
by Yvonne Battle-Felton

It is 1910 and Philadelphia is burning. The last place Spring wants to be is in the rundown, coloured section of a hospital surrounded by the groans of sick people and the bickering ghost of her dead sister. But as her son Edward lays dying, she has no other choice. There are whispers that Edward drove a streetcar into a shop window. Some people think it was an accident, others claim that it was his fault, the police are certain that he was part of a darker agenda. Is he guilty? Can they find the truth? All Spring knows is that time is running out. She has to tell him the story of how he came to be. With the help of her dead sister, newspaper clippings and reconstructed memories, she must find a way to get through to him. To shatter the silences that her governed her life, she will do everything she can to lead him home.

Currently not available as an eBook

Queenie
by Candice Carty-William

Queenie Jenkins can’t cut a break. Well, apart from the one from her long term boyfriend, Tom. That’s definitely just a break though. Definitely not a break up. Then there’s her boss who doesn’t seem to see her and her Caribbean family who don’t seem to listen (if it’s not Jesus or water rates, they’re not interested). She’s trying to fit in two worlds that don’t really understand her. It’s no wonder she’s struggling. She was named to be queen of everything. So why is she finding it so hard to rule her own life?

Currently not available as an eBook

Flèche
by Mary Jean Chan

Much like the fencer who must constantly read and respond to her opponent’s tactics during a fencing bout, this debut collection by Mary Jean Chan deftly examines relationships at once conflictual and tender.

Available as an eBook

Suncatcher
by Romesh Gunesekera

1964. Ceylon is on the brink of change. But Kairo is at a loose end. School is closed, the government is in disarray, the press is under threat and the religious right are flexing their muscles. Kairo’s hard-working mother blows off steam at her cha-cha-cha classes; his Trotskyite father grumbles over the state of the nation between his secret flutters on horseraces in faraway England. All Kairo wants to do is hide in his room and flick over second-hand westerns and superhero comics, or escape on his bicycle and daydream. Then he meets the magnetic teenage Jay, and his whole world is turned inside out. A budding naturalist and a born rebel, Jay keeps fish and traps birds for an aviary he is building in the garden of his grand home. The adults in Jay’s life have no say in what he does or where he goes: he holds his beautiful, fragile mother in contempt, and his wealthy father seems fuelled by anger.

Available as an eBook

Afropean
by Johny Pitts

Afropean seizes the blur of contradictions that have obscured Europe’s relationship with blackness and paints it into something new, confident and lyrical’ Afua Hirsch ‘Afropean. Here was a space where blackness was taking part in shaping European identity … A continent of Algerian flea markets, Surinamese shamanism, German Reggae and Moorish castles. Yes, all this was part of Europe too … With my brown skin and my British passport – still a ticket into mainland Europe at the time of writing – I set out in search of the Afropeans, on a cold October morning.’Afropean is an on-the-ground documentary of areas where Europeans of African descent are juggling their multiple allegiances and forging new identities. Here is an alternative map of the continent, taking the reader to places like Cova Da Moura, the Cape Verdean shantytown on the outskirts of Lisbon with its own underground economy, and Rinkeby, the area of Stockholm that is eighty per cent Muslim. Johny Pitts visits the former Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, where West African students are still making the most of Cold War ties with the USSR, and Clichy Sous Bois in Paris, which gave birth to the 2005 riots, all the while presenting Afropeans as lead actors in their own story.

Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

Longlist:

As well as the above six titles, the following seven titles were longlisted for the 2020 Jhalak Prize.

Golden Child
by Claire Adam

Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life IN A SOCIETY. Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant in southern Trinidad; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their two sons, thirteen years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. They are twins but nothing alike: Paul has always been considered odd, while Peter is widely believed to be a genius, destined for greatness.When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn’t come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him, this child who has caused him endless trouble already, and whom he has never really understood. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul’s fate, his world shatters-leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.

Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

Surge
by Jay Bernard

Jay Bernard’s powerful debut is a queer exploration of the black British archive, tracing a line between two significant events in recent British history: the New Cross Massacre of 1981 in which thirteen young black people were killed in a house fire – and the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. The collection stems from research undertaken about the New Cross Fire during a 2016 residency at the George Padmore Institute.

Available as an eBook and an eAudiobook

Asha & the Spirit Bird
by Jasbinder Bilan

In an unforgettable adventure set in contemporary India, Asha is guided by a majestic bird which she believes to be the spirit of her grandmother. Together with her best friend, Jeevan, she embarks on a journey across the Himalayas to find her missing father and save her home.

Available as an eBook

The Hostile Environment
by Maya GoodFellow

As refugees drowned in the Mediterranean, the UK Government proudly announced that the aim of its immigration policy was to create a ‘hostile environment’ for undocumented immigrants. Despite study after study confirming that immigration is not damaging the economy or putting a strain on public services, migrants continue to be blamed for all the UK’s ills. How did we get here?

Maya Goodfellow offers a compelling answer and illuminates the dark underbelly of contemporary immigration policies. Talking to politicians, immigration lawyers, and immigrants themselves, Goodfellow examines how the media and successive governments have created and fuelled anti-immigration politics over the last fifty years. Ultimately, Hostile Environment reveals the distinct forms of racism and dehumanisation that result from these policies. Goodfellow’s book is a crucial reminder of the human cost to treating immigration as a problem.

Available as an eBook

Nudibranch
by Irenosen Okojie

This collection focuses on offbeat characters caught up in extraordinary situations – a mysterious woman of the sea in search of love arrives on an island inhabited by eunuchs; dimensional-hopping monks navigating a season of silence face a bloody reckoning in the ruins of an abbey; an aspiring journalist returning from a failed excursion in Sydney becomes what she eats and a darker, Orwellian future is imagined where oddly detached children arrive in cycles and prove to be dangerous in unfamiliar surroundings.

Currently not available as an eBook

This Brutal House
by Niven Govinden

On the steps of New York’s City Hall, five ageing Mothers sit in silent protest. They are the guardians of the vogue ball community – queer men who opened their hearts and homes to countless lost Children, providing safe spaces for them to explore their true selves. Through epochs of city nightlife, from draconian to liberal, the Children have been going missing; their absences ignored by the authorities and uninvestigated by the police. In a final act of dissent the Mothers have come to pray: to expose their personal struggle beneath our age of protest, and commemorate their loss until justice is served. Watching from City Hall’s windows is city clerk, Teddy. Raised by the Mothers, he is now charged with brokering an uneasy truce.

Currently not available as an eBook

Which one do you think will take home this year’s prize? Tell us in the comments below!

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