Join us on:

SI Readers’ Choice

The SI Readers’ Choice award is an important part of the SI Leeds Literary Prize and has been awarded each time to the favourite shortlisted entry, chosen by a number of volunteer readers from across the UK and beyond.  In the past, these readers have largely been drawn from the membership of Soroptimist International, and in 2018 they included Soroptimists both from the UK and abroad.

In 2020, our expanded team of readers will include many returning from previous Prizes, and we’re delighted to be welcoming a number of additional readers both from Soroptimist clubs and other reading groups and organisations.  If you are interested in finding out more about becoming one of our reading team – and have time to read six fantastic books between 25 August and 5 October – please do get in touch to find out more. We would need your scoring form by the deadline of 5 October.

Our experience of running the SI Readers’ Choice award during the first four Prize editions has proved how valuable it is in opening up the shortlist to a different range of readers – as all Prize submissions are unpublished, shortlisted entrants have welcomed feedback both from our judges and the readers, and this is an extremely valuable part of entering the Prize.  Equally, the industry recognises how important the readers’ voice is in reflecting the response a book may receive from the general public, which is so crucial to its reception.

Previous winners of the SI Readers’ Choice have gone on to receive significant acclaim, and include Kit de Waal (2014 SI Readers’ Choice winner), who went on to sign a two book deal with Penguin/Random House. Her debut novel, My Name is Leon, won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year 2017 and The Trick to Time was long listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018.

Previous SI Readers’ Choice awards have been awarded to:

  • Karen Onojaife for Borrowed Light in 2012
  • Kit de Waal for Blue in Green in 2014
  • Jamilah Ahmed for Recognising Strangers in 2016
  • Omega Douglas for Hibiscus, Rose, Jacaranda in 2018


2012 SI Readers’ Choice winner, Karen Onojaife


jamilah ahmed 2016 shortlisted writers

2016 SI Readers’ Choice winner, Jamilah Ahmed


2014 SI Readers’ Choice winner, Kit de Waal


2018 SI Readers’ Choice winner, Omega Douglas