Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour

We are delighted to announce that the Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour is returning for its third year, offering unpublished writers of colour opportunities to work with agents and publishers, as well as a substantial main prize. 

In the two previous editions of the prize, our winners produced manuscripts of detailed, complex and intelligent works of fiction addressing key issues for people of colour within contemporary Britain, told through narratives of rich characters and gripping storylines.  

The inaugural winner in 2021 was Kate Cheka, a Black mixed-race British Tanzanian woman, whose entry SAME DUST was begun while studying at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. conducting research for her master’s thesis The Threat of European Enlightenment Thinking in Postcolonial Spaces, for an MA in Global Studies. Same Dust is an exercise in a dream-like moral debate, imagining what would it mean if we explored retribution for gender-based violence, and what does it in the end mean if we accept the definitions and categories of our oppressor. 

In 2022 the winner was Hanna Thomas Uose, a British Japanese writer based in London and Norwich. She is working towards her MA in Prose Fiction at UEA and is a participant in the Asian Women Writers mentorship programme, and was shortlisted for the Space to Write Project. Uose submitted a draft of her debut novel, WHO WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER. whose manuscript describes “a new drug that halts the ageing process and extends the human lifespan, at a hefty price. Five characters, variously based in London, Tokyo, and San Francisco, must make a choice regarding the drug and face the consequences of their decisions over the ensuing twenty years; their lives intersect as careers are forged and relationships broken.” 

Our past winners continue to work on their manuscripts, but we are also delighted to learn that Durre Shahwar, shortlisted for the 2022 award, has signed with the RML agency to work on her non-fiction manuscript Words I Was Taught, a work of creative non-fiction that weaves together personal storytelling and essay which builds upon and amplifies the idea of redefining your identity through language and storytelling.  

With such strong women representing our winners, and with a judging panel including the author Ayisha Malik, Louise Hare and head judge former Agent of the Year at the National Book Awards (2021) Nelle Andrew, the Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers has become a celebration of female voices in fiction and the publishing industry, just a part of Morley’s commitment to amplifying voices not traditionally afforded opportunities in the British literary world.