Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi and Patrice Lawrence win Jhalak literary prizes

·2-min read

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi has won the Jhalak prize for writers of colour with her novel The First Woman, it has been announced.

And Patrice Lawrence won the inaugural Jhalak children’s and young adult prize for Eight Pieces Of Silva.

Prize director Sunny Singh described both books as “towering literary achievements”.

Now in its fifth year, the annual Jhalak literary prize recognises British or British-resident writers of colour.

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Previous winners include Johny Pitts and Reni Eddo-Lodge.

Ugandan novelist Makumbi’s book The First Woman tells the story of Kirabo, a teenager who seeks to find out the truth about her mother.

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She said: “Winning the Jhalak prize, which recognises the best work by writers of colour in Britain, is a marvellous stamp of approval.”

Lawrence was born in Brighton and brought up in an Italian-Trinidadian household.

Eight Pieces Of Silva follows a black, gay British teenager looking for her missing stepsister.

Lawrence said: “I am so surprised, joyful and downright grateful that Eight Pieces Of Silva has been awarded the inaugural Jhalak children’s and young adult prize amongst such wonderful competition.

“I can’t stop smiling knowing that a book starring a black, working class, proudly out lesbian (and K-Pop fan) connects with so many people.”

Both prizes won the authors £1,000 each.

This year, the Jhalak prize formed a partnership with National Book Tokens and each of the 12 shortlisted titles was championed by an independent bookshop.

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