Top: Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Leila Aboulela, and Yepoka Yeebo. Bottom: Elizabeth Jane Burnett and Caleb Azumah Nelson.

Five African authors have made it to the 2024 Jhalak Prize longlist. They are Sudanese author Leila Aboulela, British-Ghanaian authors Caleb Azumah Nelson, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, and Yepoka Yeebo, and British-Kenyan author Elizabeth Jane Burnett.

First awarded in March 2017, the Jhalak Prize and its new sister award Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize founded in 2020, seek to celebrate books by British/British resident BAME writers. The prizes are unique in that they accept entries published in the UK by writers of color and are also open to self-published writers.

The Jhalak Prize awards £1000 to each winner along with a unique work of art created by artists chosen for the annual Jhalak Art Residency. All shortlisted authors receive one-year complimentary membership of The London Library, while winners receive a two-year complimentary membership.

This year’s judging panel includes Anni Domingo, Stella Oni, and Denise Saul. According to the Jhalak Prize Twitter, each of the longlisted books is “a literary gem, to be admired, loved and treasured forever.”

The 5 African books on the longlist of 12 include:

River Spirit by Leila Aboulela (Saqi Books)

Azucar by Nii Ayikwwei Parkes (Peepal Tree Press)

Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson (Penguin)

Anansi’s Gold: The Man Who Swindled The World by Yepoka Yeebo (Bloomsbury)

Twelve Words for Moss by Elizabeth Jane Burnett (Penguin)

The other authors in the longlist include Jason Allen-Paisant, Mary Jean Chan, Jacqueline Crooks, Yan Ge, Noreen Masud, Aasmah Mir, and Ami Rao. The shortlist will be announced on April 18, while the winners will be announced on May 30.

Congrats to the longlisted writers and good luck!