The SI Leeds Literary Prize is now accepting entries for the 2016 award: the winning entry will receive £2,000, a free place at an Arvon creative writing course, free manuscript assessment of their work from The Literary Consultancy; invitation to New Writing North’s London summer salon event for publishers and agents; workshops and support; speaking engagements, including at Ilkley Literature Festival 2016 and serious consideration for publication by Peepal Tree Press.
Prize Advocate Irenosen Okojie said: “The prize is unique because not only is it the only such award for BAME emerging women writers but there are development opportunities attached to it. It recognises that you need to keep honing your craft as an author and gives you access to potential enablers and gatekeepers within the industry. Most prizes just give you money and send you on your way. The prize’s link to Soroptimist International means that it’s part of a legacy of creating opportunities and platforms for women.”
The winner of the 2012 SI Leeds Literary Prize, Minoli Salgado for A Little Dust on the Eyes, was longlisted for the 2016 DSC Prize for South Asian literature.
Jane Steele, whose novel Storybank: The Milkfarm Diaries, won third place in 2012 believes it was a watershed moment in her career.
She said: “The Prize boosted my confidence no end. It was such vindication of all those years spent scribbling away wondering who would be interested. More so that other writing breaks before then. It was on a totally different level. I have been fully professional since 2012 and I’m certain that the Prize fed into that somehow. 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.”