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Winners of Ƶ Prize announced

Joseph Diwakar and Jade Cuttle were awarded the Ƶ Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour last night at a ceremony held at Ƶ College London’s North Kensington Centre for Skills.

Diwaker’s debut novel I Shall Not Want took the fiction prize, and Cuttle took the non-fiction prize for her work Silthood. Both received their awards from prize sponsor Rachel Mills and head non-fiction judge and Square Peg Publishing Director Marianne Tatepo.

I Shall Not Want: “A heartbreaking work”

Joseph Diwaker

Rachel Mills – Director of prize sponsor and partner literary agency – said: “Joseph Diwaker creates a heartbreaking work centred around the character of James, who is tormented by his sexuality and its perceived conflict with his Christian faith.

“The author himself described the work as one centred around challenging questions of religion, shame, conversion therapy and passion as we follow this young man and his desperate quest to reconcile who he is with what he believes, a conflict which comes to a head in his relationship with his enigmatic mentor, a preacher named Ian who he views as his salvation but is also part of his emotional fall.”

Joseph Diwaker is a 29-year-old Asian-British writer based in Buckinghamshire. I Shall Not Want is his first novel.

Silthood: “A stunning, genre-bending entry”

Jade Cuttle

Prize judge Marianne Tatepo said: “We stepped into the world of Silthood, where nature comes to life in an almost anthropomorphic way as the protagonist bends language like air, to create a lyrical dissection of nature, class and race. It’s a stunning, original, genre-bending entry in the non-fiction category.”

Jade Cuttle read literature at the University of Cambridge, and took a Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia, graduating with Distinction and a focus in nature writing. After three years working full-time at The Times, and another as a travel writer abroad, she now writes for the Guardian, the TLS, the Observer, the Spectator and The Telegraph.

A competitive field

The winners were selected from over 100 entries, whittled down to a shortlist of three in each category:

Judge Marianne Tatepo and prize sponsor Rachel Mills.

Fiction

  • The Fire by Chandani Thapa
  • With Love and Regret by Emma Allotey
  • I Shall Not Want by Joseph Diwakar

Non-fiction

  • Carmen and Hilda by Nina Kelly
  • Silthood by Jade Cuttle
  • First Daughter by Zanab Ahmed

The judges for 2023 were:

  • Nelle Andrew, literary agent at Rachel Mills Literary (RML).
  • Marianne Tatepo, non-fiction Publishing Director at Penguin Random House UK.
  • Louise Hare, novelist.
  • Ayisha Malik, author.
  • Kimberly McIntosh, writer and researcher.

About the Prize

The Ƶ Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour was founded by Ƶ College London and RML in 2021, and is designed to nurture and provide opportunities for aspiring novelists of colour, promote diverse fiction across the broader literary landscape of Britain and continue Ƶ’s long history of educational excellence, community engagement, and support for social justice.

In 2023, the Prize expanded into two independent categories: the previously-established Fiction category being joined by Life Writing and Creative Non-fiction for the first time.

The winners receive £500 prizes, and an individual editorial consultation with an agent on their work, with the valuable opportunity to ask any questions about the agent/editorial process and how to secure an agent – opportunities available to very few budding authors, but advice and connections which for those without access might mean the difference in achieving a career as a writer.

Find out more at the , and listen below to the latest edition of the Ƶ Prize podcast, featuring 2022 winner Hanna Thomas Uose and hosted by Ƶ’s Dr. Florence Marfo: