New Kavya Prize winner announced

Left to Right Uma Nada-Rajah and Leela Soma

Left to Right Uma Nada-Rajah and Leela Soma

Uma Nada-Rajah has been named winner of the first Kavya Prize, a new Scottish literary prize celebrating published work by Scottish writers of colour.

The playwright won the inaugural Kavya Prize for Toy, Plastic Chicken published by Salamander Street.

Uma Nada-Rajah said: "I am really touched (and still in shock!) to have been awarded the inaugural Kavya Prize.

"My respect to all of the organisers and contributors for nurturing a sense of community in the celebration of diverse Scottish voices. Congratulations to all the shortlisted writers."

The Kavya Prize, in association with the University of Glasgow and founded by Indian-born Scottish author Leela Soma, seeks to recognise, and encourage writers of colour who are Scottish by birth, residence or formation.

The inaugural prize for full-length published works of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry or short story collections was awarded by Leela Soma at Aye Write last Saturday.

Leela Soma said: "Congratulations to Uma Nada-Rajah, the winner of the Kavya Prize!

"Her playscript Toy Plastic Chicken is hard hitting, powerful and humourous, a difficult blend to achieve. She’s a worthy winner.

"In this, The Year of Scotland’s Stories 2022, the Kavya Prize has opened a new chapter for diverse voices to be heard."

Kavya is a popular and well recognised word in Sanskrit and refers to a literary style or a completed body of literature that was used in Indian courts of the Maharajahs who nurtured the cultural arts in India.

The Kavya Prize 2022 featured a very strong shortlist of writers which, as well as Uma Nada-Rajah, also included:

  • Katie Goh, writer and journalist - The End: Surviving the World Through Imagined Disasters (404 Ink);
  • Hannah Lavery, poet and playwright - Lament for Sheku Bayoh (Salamander Street)
  • David Onamade, a writer of poetry and prose, who sadly passed away in 2021 - Sorrow, Tears and Blood (Arkbound Publishing)
  • Sean Wai Keung, writer and performance maker - Sikfan Glaschu (Verve Poetry Press)
  • Lorraine Wilson, writer - This is Our Undoing (Luna Press)

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