October 6, 2011

SI Leeds Literary Prize 2012

a new award for unpublished fiction by Black and Asian women

A new award for unpublished fiction by Black and Asian women will be launched this week in Ilkley.  The SI Leeds Literary Prize has been created by Soroptimist International of Leeds, in partnership with two well established and highly regarded literary organisations, the Ilkley Literature Festival and independent publishers Peepal Tree Press.  

The prize aims to act as a loudspeaker for Black and Asian women's voices, and a platform to discover and celebrate exciting new talent, from a group largely under-represented on our bookshelves.

The inaugural prize will be awarded in October 2012, and will consist of £2,000 to the winner, £750 to the runner-up and £250 as a third prize. 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 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.

In the words of our patron, Bidisha, "The prize is important in demonstrating to a world which has always talked down or ignored the value of women's work and of the work of post-diaspora second generation peoples, apart from a very few favoured names, that our genius is plentiful, not rare; prodigious and prolific, not exceptional or occasional; that it is longstanding, not recent; that it is enduring and not a novelty; and that it is strong and powerful, not marginal or unimportant. The prize is important and necessary but, more than that, it is introduced to the world as an act of joy, happiness and the discovery of new work. Join us in celebration."

For more information on the prize, see www.sileedsliteraryprize.com 
For further information, images or interview requests, please contact Fiona Goh, Project Manager
tel: 01422 435077 or e-mail: info@siliteraryprize.com

Editors' notes:
Soroptimist International is a worldwide organisation for women in management and the professions, working through service projects to advance human rights and the status of women. Soroptimists inspire action and create opportunities to transform the lives of women and girls through a global network of members and international partnerships.  See http://soroptimist-gbi.org/leeds/ for more information on Soroptimist International of Leeds.

The prize is being launched at the event by Jean 'Binta' Breeze and Aoife Mannix at the Ilkley Playhouse Wharfeside, at 7.30pm on Thursday 6 October 2011, as part of the 2011 Ilkley Literature Festival. 
Details on how to enter the prize and further information on our judges and patrons can be found at www.sileedsliteraryprize.com 

The SI Leeds Literary Prize is open to self-defined Black & Asian women writers across the UK. Please share the news with anyone you think might be interested in or might benefit from the award.

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