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National literary award to help discover new local talent

A national literary award that helps discover exciting new talent from a group under-represented on our bookshelves is officially open for entries.

The SI Leeds Literary Prize for unpublished Black and Asian women will be accepting manuscripts until Saturday, April 30th 2016.

sileeds_08The 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 Soroptimists 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.”

Alumni also include Kit de Waal who has signed a three book deal with Penguin and Karen Onojaife who has been signed by Curtis Brown.

The Prize was set up in 2012 by the Soroptimists International of Leeds, a global organisation dedicated to the development and support of women.

It runs in partnership with the Ilkey Literature Festival and independent publishers Peepal Tree Press.

Project Manager, Fiona Goh said: “The aims of the prize are firmly in line with those of Soroptomists International and it’s quite remarkable that the Leeds branch has developed such a visionary and developmental project.”

Further information about the prize can be found at www.sileedsliteraryprize.com.

 

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