We are delighted to announce the six shortlisted books for the 2022 SI Leeds Literary Prize as follows:
- Lying Perfectly Still – Laura Fish
- Sometimes the sky is blue – Latoyah Innerarity
- The Taste of a Planet – Arianne Maki
- Aralola Will Be Absolutely Fine – Oluwaseun Oluwatosin Akinsiku
- Never Enough – Suad Kamardeen
- When You’re Smiling – Nazira Vania
Congratulations to our shortlisted writers! You can read more about our shortlisted writers below and read excerpts from their shortlisted entries.
Thanks to everyone who joined us for the recent free online event hosted by The Asian Writer where we met our shortlisted writers and heard them reading from their entries. You can watch back this event, hosted by Farhana Shaikh and chaired by Rosie Dastgir, here:
Please do save the award ceremony date in your diaries – the event will be held online on Friday 21 October 2022 at 11am through the Ilkley Literature Festival, when we will be announcing the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Prize winners, as well as the winner of the 2022 SI Readers’ Choice award, for the favourite book from the shortlist as chosen by more than 80 volunteer readers. Please watch this space for full links and more details closer to the time – we hope you can join us!
Meet our shortlisted writers
Oluwaseun Oluwatosin Akinsiku is a reader and a traveller. Born in Nigeria, she was a 2015 Writer-in-Residence at the Ebedi International Writers’ Residency and in 2022, her work was shortlisted for the Grow Your Story Programme by THRIVE and Hachette UK. She is a medical doctor by training and lives and works in the UK. Aralola Will Be Absolutely Fine is her first completed manuscript.
Watch Oluwaseun reading an excerpt from Aralola Will be Absolutely Fine:
Writer and Assistant Professor in Creative Writing, Northumbria University, Laura Fish worked in broadcast television and radio for 10 years. She was lecturer in Creative Writing at St Andrews University, University of Western Cape, University of East Anglia. She studied the MA and PhD in Creative Writing at UEA, and was RCUK Academic Fellow in Creative Writing 2007-2013, Newcastle University. Iowa International Writers’ Programme Fellow.
Lying Perfectly Still (extract in Johannesburg Review of Books, 2017)
Angry Black Birds short story (Kwani? Kenya, 2015)
Strange Music, (Jonathan Cape 2008; Vintage 2009) Orange Prize Listed 2009
Flight of Black Swans (Duckworth, 1995)
Watch Laura reading an excerpt from Lying Perfectly Still:
My name is Latoyah Innerarity and I live in south London with my two children. I’m a primary school teacher although I currently supply teach as I love the freedom and the headspace this gives my creativity. I’m also a passionate vegetarian, cook and gym lover. I have an MA in creative writing from Roehampton University and Sometimes the Sky is Blue is my first novel. A contemporary piece of young adult fiction, centred on angst, a distinct but marginalised voice and my character’s navigation through the emotions that underpins her self discovery. I hope my readers will identify with experiences not always vocalised in the black community but similarly invite non-ethnic readers into a perception that is different yet has an undercurrent of similarity.
Watch Latoyah reading an excerpt from Sometimes the Sky is Blue:
Suad Kamardeen is a British-Nigerian Muslim writer, editorial assistant at AMALIAH, proof-reader, and engineering graduate. In 2017, she co-authored a short story collection, Soulful Stories: of Hope, Love and Light. In 2021, her adult novel-in-progress was shortlisted for Stylist Prize for Feminist Fiction 2021. Never Enough is her debut novel and was shortlisted for FAB Prize 2021.
She would love to impact people’s lives positively through storytelling, and to show Black girls, Muslim girls and assault survivors that they are not alone in their stories. She recently launched a community, Qalb Writers Collective, to support Black and Muslim women writers and share the knowledge she’s gaining throughout her writing journey.
Watch Suad reading an excerpt from Never Enough:
Arianne Maki grew up zig-zagging between Scotland and England, and is now living in London. They will be graduating this year from Goldsmiths with an MA in Ecology, Culture, and Society, where they are researching human relationships with octopuses and seaweed. Arianne is interested in speculative multispecies encounters and sensory knowledge in both fiction and theory. The Taste of a Planet is their first novel and tells the story of a found family whose lives gradually entwine with mysterious edamame-like “alien” structures. As a Japanese-Indonesian, they derive the majority of their joy from eating assorted soybean-products.
Watch Arianne reading an excerpt from The Taste of a Planet:
Nazira Vania is a Leicester-based writer and public health project manager. She completed The Asian Writer’s Becoming a Writer course in 2018 and the Middle Way Mentoring Programme from 2018 to 2020, during which she was mentored by Kerry Young. Nazira’s story Numbers was shortlisted for the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize in 2018 and is published in the prize anthology. When You’re Smiling is her first novel and she is now working on her second. Nazira is one-seventh of writing collective The Koyal Writers. She lives with her son and parents, and can be found on Twitter as @nazvanz.
Watch Nazira reading an excerpt from When You’re Smiling.