Stormzy announces the winners of the first #Merky Books New Writers' Prize
Two new writers between 16 and 30 won publishing contracts with Penguin Random House imprint #Merky Books and representation by The Good Literary Agency
The winners were Monika Radojevic for her poetry collection 23 and Me, and Hafsa Zayyan for her novel We Are All Birds of Uganda.
'The new writers’ prize is a very new thing, so I’m proud you guys had the confidence to apply,' said Stormzy. 'A lot of talented people don’t fulfil their potential, they are so talented but they sit on it. I call it the beautiful shame. But you guys have the confidence to write, to do something about it, and that’s amazing.’
More than 1,200 submissions from aspiring writers of fiction, poetry and non-fiction aged between 16 and 30 were received for the #Merky Books New Writers' Prize, which was aimed at promoting stories that weren't being heard and finding the best new writers of a new generation.
‘Reading for the prize felt like being given a vision of the future,' said poet Kayo Chingonyi, who judged the award with Stormzy, Yrsa Daley-Ward, Nikesh Shukla and Susan Sandon. 'There was innovation among these entries as well as a very welcome collapsing of received notions of literariness. Not all of these entries are ready to be books right now but there is enormous promise here and the passion and dedication among these writers to live up to their evident potential. I was excited, moved, and I learned from reading these entries and I am confident that a wide range of readers will share in that process before too long as these projects take shape, evolve, and find their audiences.’
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