Category Archives: Awards

The Diverse Book Awards calls for entries from UK-based authors & publishers

Authors and publishers are invited to enter a new book prize, open to fiction books that are traditionally published, self-published and everything in between; from January 13th to May 31st 2020.

The Diverse Book Awards is sponsored by Hashtag BLAK (a new imprint of indie publishing house Hashtag Press focused on diversity and inclusion) and Literally PR (award-winning literary PR and marketing agency).

  • The long-list will be announced in June 2020 (books will be called in at this time for judges to review).
  • The short-list will be announced in September 2020.
  • The winner from each category (YA, Adult & Children’s Fiction) will be announced at a Hashtag BLAK party in London in October 2020.

Abiola Bello, co-director of Hashtag Press and Hashtag BLAK, says: So much more can be done to raise levels of diversity and inclusion in publishing, but The Diverse Book Awards seeks to recognise and celebrate the amazing work that was done in 2019 by authors and publishers. In turn, hopefully more diverse and inclusive books will be published in the coming years.

Authors and publishers can submit any children’s, young adult or adult fiction book published in 2019 that features BAME and/or inclusive main characters.

Each of the three category winners will be awarded a trophy, certificate and a PR campaign organised by boutique agency Literally PR.

Hashtag BLAK is currently only for submissions (www.hashtagblak.co.uk / info@hashtagblak.co.uk) seeking adult and YA fiction from Black British writers. The aim is to publish the first book by the end of 2020, the second in 2021, and then submissions will be open to all under-represented voices. Hashtag BLAK is open to unsolicited / unagented manuscripts.

For complete details on how to enter please visit: https://www.thediversebookawards.co.uk/

Little Rebels Prize

The Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB) is delighted to announce that the winner of this year’s Little Rebels Children’s Book Award for Radical Fiction is Catherine Johnson for her book, Freedom (Scholastic 2018).

A short historical novel, Freedom tells the story of Nat, a young boy enslaved on a Jamaican plantation, brought over to England in the late eighteenth century. Hopeful that, once on UK soil, he will finally be free from bondage, Nat instead witnesses the pivotal role Britain played in building the slavery industry. Praising the winning title, the award judges commented:

“Freedom is radical in a number of ways. It tells a story of a young enslaved man in Britain. It explores the humanity of those whose humanity was denied through chattel slavery. It subtly examines the similarities and the differences between class oppression and a system of slavery rooted in racism. It tells a story of Britain that continues to be neglected. Johnson’s writing is a masterclass in the maxim ‘show don’t tell’ – through the point of view of her protagonist we are brought into his world and yet we are afforded space to emotionally engage with the story she offers us.”

Darren Chetty, Teaching Fellow at UCL and contributor to The Good Immigrant.

“Catherine Johnson brings the horrific history of slavery to life in this important piece of historical fiction for a middle grade audience. A brilliant adventure story that shines a much-needed spotlight on the UK’s role [and which also introduces us to] real life people who should be more famous than they are, including former slave turned author and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano and Shadrack Furman, the first black army Pensioner. A well deserved win from one of the UK’s most fabulous storytellers.”

Emily Drabble, head of children’s books promotion and prizes at BookTrust
2018 winner Zanib Mian congratulates Catherine Johnson after the announcement

The winner of the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award 2019 was announced at an event held in the CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education) Literacy Library on Wednesday July 10th by Zanib Mian, the 2018 winner for The Muslims (now Planet Omar). This followed on from a panel discussion with the other shortlisted authors (all except Sarah MacIntyre) and a chance to have a look around the beautiful CLPE library.

The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award is now in its 7th year. The Award recognises fiction for ages 0-12 which promotes or celebrates social justice and equality. It is run by booksellers Housmans Bookshop and Letterbox Library and is awarded by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB).