Thursday, 19 January 2012

Are There Any Black & Asian UK Women Writers Out There?

If so, prepare yourselves for the first UK prize dedicated only to you: SI Leeds Literary Prize!

This is the first year of the prize and already it's set to make waves with the excellent talent on the judging panel and who have given patronage. The prize was set up SI Leeds (Soroptimists International's Leeds branch), with support from Peepal Tree Press and Ilkley Literature Festival.

Patrons include:
Bonnie Greer
Bidisha
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

With esteemed judges:
Margaret Busby, OBE (Chair)
Gail Bolland, SI Leeds
Hannah Bannister, Peepal Tree Press

Join the fan page for regular news and updates, as well as special inspirations to help you on your writing journey.

The entry fee for each manuscript submitted is £15.00, which I think, in this case, is more than justified by the prize. I have blogged in the past about whether and/or what it's worth paying to enter writing competitions, and my advice has always been to weigh up the chances of success and the prize being offered against the cost. £15 is equal to or less than the cost of entry for many of the pamphlet competitions out there. But unlike those pamphlet competitions, what's up for grabs here is a contract for a full length short story collection or novel. There's also invaluable career development from Inscribe (an imprint of Peepal Tree Press) and a slot at a major literature festival. Considering the niche appeal, also, of the prize (black and Asian women writers in the UK), you'll stand a better chance, and your work will be read by judges who understand what black and Asian women are currently writing about (which may or may not be the same as what women in general are writing about).

I will admit my bias upfront: I do work freelance at Peepal Tree Press, and I am a member of their Young Inscribe programme. But that's because I genuinely believe in what they do and have a lot of affection for the organisation (as do many other black and Asian writers across the world). So I definitely endorse this competition, and have even encouraged my own family members to enter too.

Entries must arrive by Friday 1st June 2012. Late entries will not be eligible.

Find out if you (or a friend) is eligible here.

Or for more information visit the prize website here.

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