The SI Leeds Literary Prize

Welcome to the biennial prize for unpublished fiction by Black and Asian women resident in the UK aged 18 years and over.

We will be accepting entries for the 2018 Prize from 1 January – 30 April 2018.  To find out more about how to enter click here.  Winners will receive a range of cash prizes and unique support through our Prize Plus programme, including £3,000 to our 1st Prize Aspire-igen award winner, a free place on an Arvon creative writing course and manuscript assessment through The Literary Consultancy.  Other support includes 1:1 writing development sessions through Inscribe, appearances at literary events including the 2018 Ilkley Literature Festival and networking opportunities through New Writing North.

The 2016 Prize was awarded to Amita Murray for Marmite and Mango Chutney.   Amita has now signed a two-book deal with Harper Collins and her debut novel, Finding Rose, is due for publication in early 2019.  Second prize went to Winnie M Li for Dark Chapter, which has since gone on to win The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2017, and third prize, and the SI Readers’ Choice award, went to Jamilah Ahmed for Recognising Strangers. Meet our 2016 shortlist and read excerpts of their entries.

The winner of the 2014 Prize was announced at a memorable award ceremony as part of the 2014 Ilkley Literature Festival: Mahsuda Snaith won the SI Leeds Literary Prize 2014 for The Constellation of Ravine Roy. Mahsuda signed a two-book deal with Transworld and her winning manuscript has now been published as The Things We Thought We Knew. Season Butler won 2nd prize for Hanging from the Hammer of the Bell, and has recently signed a deal with Little, Brown’s imprint Dialogue Books.  Anita Sivakumaran won 3rd prize for The Queen.  The SI Readers’ Choice award, chosen from the shortlist by some 20 SI members, went to Kit de Waal for Blue in Green.  Kit de Waal has subsequently signed a three book deal with Penguin and her first book, My Name is Leon, is now available.  Many congratulations to all our winners and our wonderful shortlist, whose readings at the event demonstrated real quality and engaging voices.

The prize has been created and run by Soroptimist International of Leeds, in partnership with two well established and highly regarded literary organisations, the Ilkley Literature Festival and independent publishers Peepal Tree Press.  The prize aims to act as a loudspeaker for Black and Asian women’s voices, and a platform to discover exciting new talent, from a group largely under-represented on our bookshelves.  The Prize works closely with a range of other established literary partners to enable increased support for our winning writers, including ArvonThe Literary Consultancy, and New Writing North.  The Prize is made possible by grant funding from Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts scheme and sponsorship by Aspire-igen.  A huge thanks to all who make the Prize possible.

In the words of our patron, Bidisha:

“The prize is a testament to the importance and manifest talent of women and a tribute to the gift of cultural, national, ethnic and linguistic diversity. The prize is important and necessary but, more than that, it is introduced to the world as an act of joy, happiness and the discovery of new work. Join us in celebration.”

Find out more about the Prize’s judges, its patrons and partners.

The winner of the 2012 SI Leeds Literary Prize was Minoli Salgado for A Little Dust on the Eyes.  Minoli’s book is now available from Peepal Tree Press and was longlisted for the 2016 DSC Prize for South Asian literature.