New writers prize seeks to celebrate Scotland’s ethnically diverse communities

A new Scottish literary prize has been launched today aimed at celebrating published work and new writing by Scotland’s ethnically diverse communities.

The Kavya Prize, in association with the University of Glasgow, seeks to encourage Scottish black, indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) writers - either living in Scotland or abroad.

The inaugural prize for full-length published works of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry or short story collections will be awarded in May 2022 and is worth 1000.

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 prize is the brainchild of Indian-born Scottish author Leela Soma, who said: "The Kavya Prize in Scotland seeks to encourage diverse voices and shift the gaze of the literary scene from decades of the ’norm’ to become more inclusive. The need for recognising diverse voices in a multicultural Scotland is long overdue.

"To reflect our rainbow nation in our books will encourage the young ’new Scots’ to access, participate and contribute to mainstream Scottish literature. Starting this Prize in the Year of Stories Scotland 2022 is an important milestone for writers of colour."

Dr Zoe Strachan, a Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, said: "Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow strives to encourage a community of writers and readers that reaches far beyond our cohort and alumni.

"We are honoured that Leela approached us about the Kavya Prize, and hope that it will become an important and treasured part of the Scottish literary scene as well as an aspiration for our talented students and graduates.

"We look forward to developing more opportunities for new writers in association with the enthusiastic supporters of the prize - and, of course, to seeing who will be on the shortlist in 2022!"

The judging panel for the Kavya Prize will be -

  • Professor Bashabi Fraser, CBE, Scottish-Indian poet, children’s writer, critic and academic
  • Tawona Sithole , a Zimbabwean-born writer, poet, musician and performer who now lives in Scotland and is an Artist in Residence at the University of Glasgow.
  • Leila Aboulela , a fiction writer of Sudanese origin who now lives in Scotland.

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