The SI Leeds Literary Prize 2020 1st Prize Aspire-igen winner is Wenyan Lu for The Funeral Cryer. Many congratulations! This is what our Chair of Judges, Nicola Chang, had to say about the judging process and this wonderful book:
“The quality and calibre of the submissions we received presented us with an embarrassment of riches, so much so that choosing a shortlist of three was not an easy task. I’ve been so inspired and impressed with the ambition and craft of all these works of fiction and I first wanted to congratulate all the writers who made it onto the longlist.
The best fiction is timely and timeless, it lingers with you after you close the proverbial cover. The shortlisted writers accomplished all this and more and they should be incredibly proud of their work.
Our 1st Prize goes to Wenyan Lu for The Funeral Cryer: a brilliant psycho-drama set in a far flung backwater of China, a portrait of female desire not often seen and of a village no longer inured to the pernicious forces of progress. Congratulations to you all!”
Wenyan Lu gave a wonderful acceptance speech:
“Years back I would never ever thought or dreamed that I would win this Prize. And I was so excited and speechless when I heard the news – and I still kind of don’t believe it. But at the same time, I’m actually more grateful than anything else. I want to say thank you to all the judges and to the organisers of the SI Leeds Literary Prize, especially many thanks to Fiona – she’s done so much for us. And many special thanks to all the other shortlisted writers. I felt like we were connected and we have met each other virtually but feel this is such a lovely writing community: I know there are people like me. The reason why I didn’t think I would win was they were so brilliant, and I want to tell them we are all winners. Also I want to say thank you to all the people who have encouraged me through my journey. I want to tell people who doubt their writing – keep writing, don’t worry, don’t think about what you are writing about, and just do it.”