Prize Plus is SI Leeds Literary Prize’s distinctive programme of benefits and support for its shortlisted writers, delivered in partnership with a range of renowned national literature organisations who are committed to supporting our writers and helping to raise the profile of black and Asian women’s writing in the UK. Prize Plus comprises a range of bespoke networking, speaking, craft and career development opportunities, designed in liaison with our partners to support and develop the Prize’s cohort of shortlisted writers.
In addition to the cash awards, the winning author receives a free place on an Arvon creative writing course of their choice, a free manuscript assessment by The Literary Consultancy (TLC), as well as a TLC website showcase and a free place at TLC’s Chapter and Verse Industry Day. With the winner’s consent, the winning manuscript will be given very serious consideration for publication by Peepal Tree Press, if this is considered to be the best fit for the book. Second and third-place authors receive free manuscript assessments from TLC on their manuscript. Peepal Tree Press offers the three non-placed authors from the shortlist 2 one-to-one consultancy sessions in professional development support through its Inscribe programme. The whole shortlist cohort is invited to attend New Writing North‘s summer talent party, to meet prospective agents and publishers, and to attend a pitching workshop to develop their networking skills.
Our Prize Plus partners have all spoken eloquently and passionately about why they support the Prize, and the way in which we work together: watch Andrew Kidd of Arvon, Aki Schilz of The Literary Consultancy, Will Mackie of New Writing North, Erica Morris of Ilkley Literature Festival and Hannah Bannister of Peepal Tree Press talk about their relationships with the Prize. We are hugely grateful for their commitment to the Prize and their continued generous support.
All shortlisted writers read short extracts from their work at the Ilkley Literature Festival as part of the award event, and are given opportunities to speak at other UK literary events, working with event partners including Rich Mix and London Literature Festival. Our wonderful Prize Advocate, Irenosen Okojie, who programmes these events and has supported our shortlisted writers through their Prize Plus experience, talks about her role with the Prize and why the Prize is important in this short video.
The Prize’s rich offer of career development opportunities through Prize Plus has benefited previous cohorts of shortlisted writers, and Prize alumni are passionate about the way in which this has benefited them. This is Amita Murray, 2016 Aspire-igen first prize award winner:
“For anything good that happens in my writing career, in my mind it will all go back to this award. Writing is a mad, lonely career path for anyone to choose, where you wake up every morning feeling a bit sick, wondering if you’re going to write anything good ever again. So to get the validation of the prize was an incredibly awe-inspiring and humbling thing for me. A year later I have a two novel deal with Harper Collins and after a four publishing house auction, I’m also signed with Random House Blanvalet in Germany. One of the most priceless things to come out of the award is the spontaneous, surprising friendships with fellow writers. A year later the short list still meets up for lunch and writerly gossip. The publishing industry doesn’t always know what to do with our confusing ‘diverse’ voices and it is awards like this one that blaze the way forward. All in all, it was nothing short of a magical experience.”