The Jhalak Prize for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Writers (BAME) was only set up last year, to challenge the lack of diversity in literature, and the first winner is announced as Jacob Ross for his crime novel The Bone Readers.
The prize was founded last year to improve the poor representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic writers and was funded by an anonymous donor. Now the first year is complete, it’s announced that the prize will run again next year.
Upon announcement of the award, just 51 books were submitted for entry, despite it being open to all genres and even self published writers. This, organisers say just shows up the lack of diversity in literature. After a second appeal, 121 books were finally submitted and The Bone Readers is the overall winner.
The Bone Readers follows the story of Digger, a plainclothes police officer working in a rogue police force on the Caribbean island of Camaho who has a special talent of being able to read bones under LED lights. The novel is the first of a quartet following the character and has been received well.
Ross is the author of two short story collections, The Bone Readers and the 2009 acclaimed novel Pynter Bender.
The hall of fame for sci-fi and fantasy has been going since 1996 and Lee will be the first comic book writer to be included. Both he and Rowling have made a significant impact on the world of pop culture this past decade, with a stream of books and movies and an ever-expanding universe for both Marvel and the Potter fandom.
The scandal continued with many members resigning in protest, leaving the Academy in crisis due to its own rules. It looked as though the entire Nobel Prize Academy might have been disbanded forever but it was ultimately saved, although 2018 will be the first year in 69 years that the awards have not been given.
Tim Waterstone, founder of the eponymous book shop chain has been recognised with a knighthood for services to bookselling and charity. Author Kazuo Ishiguro has also received a knighthood for services to literature.
500 Words 2018 has set another record for entries: this year saw over 135,000 people enter with their stories. The stories were read by a team of 5000 volunteers- librarians and teachers from around the UK- before being pared down to the Top 50 by The Reading Agency. The panel of judges, Charlie Higson, Francesca Simon, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Malorie Blackman and Honorary Judge, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, had the gruelling task then of selecting three winners from two age categories (5-9 years and 10-13 years).
The final was presented by BBC’s Chris Evans, and was an exciting and glamorous day of live music and story-telling. The six winners were announced on BBC Radio 2 by British and Irish funnymen, David Walliams and Dara O’Briain. There was also music from John Newman, Alexandra Burke and Bastille to round off the celebrations.
The 16 original books were read and discussed by the panel of judges- Sarah Sands, Katy Brand, Anita Anand, Catherine Mayer, and Imogen Stubbs- and whittled down to a final fantastic 6. After much deliberation those 6 were discussed and debated until one winner was decided upon.
Congratulations to the winner- Kamila Shamsie with Home Fire.