05 April 2021
More than 2,000 submissions were received for the award for unpublished, underrepresented young authors
The prize is a publishing contract with the #Merky Books imprint at Penguin Random House UK. 28-year old Jyoti's winning book, Six of One, is a coming-of-age story that explores being a young person of colour in Britain today.
'I’m delighted to be joining the #Merky Books family and am so grateful for the opportunity to have my novel published,' said Jyoti. 'Penguin has been my dream publisher since I was a child so it’s very exciting to know that my debut will be in such great hands. I’m very much looking forward to working with Lemara and the #Merky Books team and can’t wait to get started. Thank you so much to everyone involved in organising the New Writers’ Prize, including the guest judges, and all those in the industry who are fostering space for stories like mine. It means the world.'
The panel of judges included #Merky Books founder Stormzy, Candice Braithwaite, Emma Dabiri, Guz Khan and Katarina Johnson-Thompson.
In April, #Merky Books in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature will be launching their New Writers' Alumni, which will offer previous, current and future longlisted writers with mentoring, advice, and a space to connect with each other.
Emma Wallace, senior brand manager for #Merky Books said: 'Not only did we receive nearly double the submissions than the previous year, but we also received a higher number of works of fiction. It really felt like many of the young writers were sending us fictional stories that were based around themes of hope, fantasy and escapism during a time that was extremely difficult for so many. Jyoti’s writing in particular was extraordinary and, just like with our previous winners Hafsa Zayyan and Monika Radojevic, we’re all really excited to be publishing One Of Six under the #Merky Books imprint. I’m also overjoyed to be able to stay in touch and continue to work with the bold and innovative writers who made it through to our longlist via our newly launched New Writers’ Prize Alumni, in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature.'