The SI Leeds Literary Prize is a new prize for unpublished fiction by Black and Asian women resident in the UK aged 18 years and over.
The prize aims to act as a loudspeaker for Black and Asian women’s voices, enabling fresh and original literary voices from a group disproportionately under-represented in mainstream literary culture to reach new audiences.
The inaugural 2012 prize was awarded on 3 October as part of the Ilkley Literature Festival:
- 1st prize of £2,000 was awarded to Minoli Salgado for A Little Dust on the Eyes
- Runner-up prize of £750 was awarded to Karen Onojaife for Borrowed Light
- Two writers shared the third prize of £250: Emily Midorikawa for A Tiny Speck of Black and then Nothing, and Jane Steele for Storybank: The Milkfarm Years
In addition to the cash awards Peepal Tree Press will offer the winning, runner-up and third placed authors two 1:1 consultancy sessions in professional development support through its Inscribe programme. With the winner’s consent, the winning manuscript will be given serious consideration for publication by Peepal Tree Press. The four winning writers read short extracts of their work at the award ceremony, and Minoli Salgado received a specially commissioned trophy made by Yorkshire-based artist Seiko Kinoshita.
The winner of the SI Readers’ Choice was also announced at the award ceremony: this is an award for one entry from the long list which was the favourite of a group of readers drawn from the membership of Soroptimist International. The winner of the SI Readers’ Choice was Karen Onojaife for Borrowed Light. There is no cash prize for this award, but Karen received a beautiful original artwork by Bidisha, one of the Prize’s patrons.
The distinguished Chair of Judges is Margaret Busby OBE, who has served as judge for many literary awards including the Caine Prize for African Writing, the Orange Prize, the Independent Prize for Foreign Fiction and the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. A writer, editor, consultant, reviewer and broadcaster, Margaret became the UK’s youngest and first Black woman publisher when she co-founded Allison & Busby Ltd, of which she was Editorial Director for 20 years.
The Prize is an initiative of Soroptimist International of Leeds, an organisation dedicated to the development and support of women. Soroptimist International works globally to help women achieve their potential and have an equal voice, and these principles are embedded in the SI Leeds Literary Prize. To develop and deliver the prize, SI Leeds is working in partnership with two well established and respected Yorkshire-based literature organisations, Ilkley Literature Festival and Peepal Tree Press. These two organisations have an enviable track record in literature development, and bring significant experience and skills to the Prize team. Both organisations have a strong reputation for their work in promoting and developing black and minority ethnic writers.
Find out more about the Prize by watching this video: