SI Leeds Literary Prize 2022
This is a trail-blazing award for new writing by black and Asian women aged 18 or above.
“Our aim is to act as a loudspeaker for fresh and original literary voices from an under-represented group, and to help them reach new audiences in mainstream culture. With the help of our partners, shortlisted writers take part in a programme of craft and career development. Many of our entrants have gone on to land publishing deals, agents, and critical acclaim for their writing.”– SI Leeds Literary Prize
About the 2022 Prize
The SI Leeds Literary Prize helps discover exciting new talent from underrepresented groups and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
The Prize is for unpublished fiction by Black and Asian female writers and is now accepting entries after successfully securing funding from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants.
Writers have from 18th April to midnight May 2nd 2022 to send in their entries.
Prize Director, Fiona Goh, said: “We are so thrilled to be launching the 10th anniversary edition of the SI Leeds Literary Prize for black and Asian women. During the past decade, the Prize has supported and championed unpublished fiction by some incredible writers, and it is a joy to see so many of their books on our bookshelves now. From Amita Murray to Kit de Waal, Mahsuda Snaith to Saima Mir, SI Prize alumnae are a brilliant testament to the importance of the Prize in finding new voices to delight and inspire us.
Saima Mir was longlisted for the award in 2014. Her novel, The Khan, was a Times and Sunday Times Crime Novel of the Year last year. She said: “The SI Leeds Literary Prize is so important in helping women of colour to believe there is space for us in publishing. Being longlisted really helped encourage me to carry on writing, and gave me the confidence to keep going and achieve my dream.”
The prizes include:
First Prize: £4,000
Second Prize: £2,000
Third Prize: £1,000
Reader’s Choice: £1,000
The award’s Prize Plus programme also supports shortlisted writers through a programme of events, workshops, manuscript assessment and 1:1 coaching.
The biennial award is now in its fifth edition and has helped support a new generation of writers. Previous alumni include Amita Murray, Mahsuda Snaith, Minoli Salgado, Season Butler, Kit de Waal and LM Dillsworth, who landed a 6-figure deal and whose debut novel is out this year.
Dillsworth said: “Entering the SI Leeds Lit Prize was an integral step on my path to publication. When I learned I was runner up it validated my writing dreams and gave me the confidence boost I needed to keep going. I’m so excited to be part of the judging panel this year, helping to raise up the voices of the talented women of colour who share their work with us. If you’re eligible to enter please submit your novel. I can’t wait to start reading.”
Since winning the 2016 Prize, Amita Murray has signed a two-novel deal with Harper Collins: “One of the most priceless things to come out of the award is the spontaneous, surprising friendships with fellow writers. A year later the short list still meets up for lunch and writerly gossip. The publishing industry doesn’t always know what to do with our confusing ‘diverse’ voices and it is awards like this one that blaze the way forward. All in all, it was nothing short of a magical experience.”
Jane Steele was a shortlisted writer in 2012: “I re-did my CV the other day and noted with interest that in both writing and acting I have been fully professional since […] 2012. I’m certain that the Prize fed into that somehow. The Prize boosted my confidence no end. It was such vindication of all those years spend scribbling away wondering who would be interested. More so than other writing breaks before then. It was on a totally different level. My feeling is that the Prize will grow in influence as the years progress. I have great pride in knowing that, whatever happens, I was a winner of the very first one. No one can take that away from me.”
The Prize was founded by partners Soroptimist International of Leeds, a global organisation dedicated to supporting and empowering women through inspiring projects.
It runs in partnership with the Ilkley Literature Festival and independent publishers Peepal Tree Press. Its sponsor, The Opportunity Centre, is a Yorkshire-based social enterprise providing training, learning and support.
Further information about the prize and how to enter can be found at www.sileedsliteraryprize.com.
Current patrons include Bernadine Evaristo, Bonnie Greer OBE, Bidisha and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, amongst others.