The 12 winners were unveiled for this year’s Creative Future Writers’ Awards, celebrating the prose and poetry of under-represented writers.
This year’s awards saw a 10% increase in the number of entries from unpublished writers of black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds.
The highest honor, the Platinum Awards, went to women of Asian descent – Shazia Altaf for prose and Rhiya Pau (in the photo, at the top) for poetry. The judges congratulated the two writers for their “warm” and “inventive” work.
Altaf, former librarian and teacher based in Middlesbrough (on the photo on the right) won for âEssential Threadâ, the story of a sister visiting her brother in a mental hospital, while Pau, 28, based in London, was shortlisted for her poem âHow Much Is Enough? , An immigration story, exposing the desperate desire for a once-lived life that can never be fully captured again.
In poetry, Aischa Daughtery won gold, Jess Murrain Bronze won silver, while Anna Himali Howard won bronze. Jem Henderson was highly congratulated and Steve Roberts was congratulated.
For prose, the gold went to Amelia Zhou, Ulka Karandikar took the silver, and Nanci Gilliver won the bronze. Farah Ahamed was highly congratulated and LumiÃ¨re Chieh was congratulated.
In addition to Â£ 10,000 in cash and writing development prizes provided by publishers, authors and development agencies, winners are offered further training, mentorship, one-on-one support and other development opportunities.
Chief Judge of the Award, novelist Dorothy Koomson, said: âJudging the Creative Future Writers’ Award this year has been a real pleasure and incredibly difficult at the same time. Everyone on the long list and on the short list could have won, and it was such an honor to be able to read these writers early in their careers. I loved the winning pieces and each of them is a worthy winner. I am so happy for them. ‘Essential Thread’ was clever and heartbreaking as well as warm and well-written. History has denied the experience of its writer. I enjoyed it every time I read it.
The Creative Future team added: âThis year our competition attracted over 1,200 entries from unpublished writers across the UK, many of whom have never entered a literary competition before. The quality of entries we received was exceptionally high and we are delighted to have discovered so many emerging and talented writers in our pool of 12 award winners. We are delighted to continue working with them to develop their writing careers through the unique range of development opportunities that Creative Future is able to offer.
An awards ceremony featuring the winning writers and leading guest authors will take place at London’s Southbank Center as part of the London Literature Festival on October 27 at 7:30 p.m.
The winning submissions along with the work of the 2021 Prize judges are also published in an anthology available in hard copy which can be purchased online.