We are delighted to report that Jacob Ross has won the inaugural The Jhalak Prize for his crime fiction novel, The Bone Readers!
There have been some wonderful comments from the judges. Speaking of The Bone Readers, judge Catherine Johnson said, 'Jacob Ross is, I believe, one of the most incisive and illuminating writers working in English today. The Bone Readers is a beautifully realised and exquisite crime novel.'
Peepal Tree's Managing Editor, Jeremy Poynting, picked up the award, as Jacob Ross unfortunately couldn't make the ceremony due to a longstanding commitment with Jerwood/Arvon. He sent the following words on hearing the news,
'I'm deeply aware of the significance of this prize. In my mind it is a critically strategic intervention because it seeks to recognise the best work of BAME writers - an important but historically overlooked area of British literary output. I'm especially grateful to the judges for what must have been a very difficult selection process since I too, am deeply respectful and admiring of the work of the other writers on the shortlist.'
This was the shortlist in full:
• The Girl Of Ink And Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Chicken House)
• A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker)
• Speak Gigantular by Irenosen Okojie (Jacaranda)
• Black And British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga (Macmillan)
• The Bone Readers by Jacob Ross (Peepal Tree Press)
• Another Day In The Death Of America by Gary Younge (Faber)
Order your copy direct from Peepal Tree here, for a celebratory reduced price of £7.99 or from your usual bookseller, The Bone Readers is available in print and ebook.
The Bookseller noted the high proportion of independent presses on the shortlist, while The Guardian said, 'Few prizes have been directed only at minority writers. The Jhalak is the only prize for published works across all fields, and joins the four-year-old SI Leeds literary prize for unpublished fiction by black and Asian women. The 2016 winner was Amita Murray for Marmite and Mango Chutney.
Image: Jhalak Prize 2016 / Media Diversified