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News on our 2012 winners.

The 2012 SI Leeds Literary Prize winner, Minoli Salgado, has been busy since the announcement of the Prize in 2012.  She is now represented by Elise Dillsworth Agency, a development which coincided with the prize announcement: “Elise is a wonderful and very proactive agent and having A Little Dust on the Eyes shortlisted for the prize was really important. That boost – knowing that it was shortlisted – definitely helped.” The impact of winning the Prize has been significant: “Winning the Prize has made me think of my writing as a whole, and given me confidence to establish myself as a writer.  It’s given me a focus, a renewed sense of purpose and, most importantly, a clearer sense of a readership.”

The success of A Little Dust on the Eyes has also helped Minoli to move on with her writing: “One of the best things about the Prize has been the feeling that other people think my book is ready to go – until I felt confident about that, I felt I couldn’t move on.  Knowing that other people think the book is ready is really encouraging, and I’m now working on another book.”

Minoli actually had two books longlisted for the 2012 Prize, and her other submission,Broken Jaw, is a collection of short stories, one of which has been translated into Italian. Although Minoli sees herself primarily as a fiction writer, she has also been invited to give readings of her poetry internationally.  Her poetry was featured at the Writing and Reconciliation conference in Virginia, USA and in Nicaragua for the International Poetry Festival of Granada where her poems have been translated into Spanish by Gioconda Belli, one of the country’s foremost poets.

Emily Midorikawa, whose A Tiny Speck of Black and then Nothing won joint 3rd prize in 2012, also placed third with her novel in the Yeovil Literary Prize, judged by Tracy Chevalier.  Emily has an agent working on her behalf to secure a publishing contract and her article on rivalry between writers (co-authored with Emma Claire Sweeney) was published in Mslexia.  Emily continues to teach creative writing and has enjoyed working with the Inscribe programme as part of her prize award. Emily is also involved in the Tangled Roots project examining mixed race heritage in Yorkshire, alongside Katy Massey and Jane Steele, both part of our 2012 cohort.

Karen Onojaife, 2nd prize winner and SI Choice winner with Borrowed Light, won 2nd prize in Mslexia’s Short Story Competition 2013 for Starling.  Karen said: “The more I think about the Prize, the more I come to realise how grateful I am to be part of a community of such generous readers and writers, giving me encouragement, the opportunity to share my work and time to develop my craft. I definitely feel more energised and optimistic when I think about tackling my manuscript as well as the ideas I have for other short stories and novels.”  Karen is joining the Prize as a judge for the 2016 award.

Jane Steele’s Storybank: The Milkfarm Yearswhich won joint 3rd prize, has been sent to a major literary agency, and the agency has given Jane very balanced and positive feedback.  All our winners continue to be brilliant advocates for the Prize, and we wish them every success in taking their writing careers to the next level.