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We’re standing up for BAME women authors!

Yes, it’s true, here at Soroptimist East London, we’re standing up for BAME women authors! We’re doing it by helping choose the “Readers Prize Award” for unpublished fiction written by black and Asian women living in the UK.

What’s the Readers Choice Award?

2018 shortlisted women authors of the Soroptimist Literary Prize
The 2018 Shortlisted Authors. Photo: M. Farrar

The SI Leeds Literary Prize is an award for unpublished fiction by UK-based Black and Asian women, aged 18 and above. Established in 2012, it’s a loudspeaker for fresh and original literary voices and aims to help under-represented authors reach new audiences. 2020 is the fifth year of the biennial award and there are a record number of entries. It’s not surprising, since previous entrants like Mahsuda Snaith, Kit de Waal, Stella Ahmadou and others have gone on to land publishing deals, agents, and critical acclaim for their writing, including winning the “Not the Booker Prize” and the Radio Four book of the week. The Literary Prize is judged by a small group of writers and publishers; you can read about them here and about the Prize’s patron’s here.

The Reader’s Choice award is a parallel literary award to the Soroptimist Literary Prize. Both are organised by Soroptimists in Leeds and supported by publishers, writers and the Arts Council. Soroptimist East London is delighted to be involved too.

How and Why are East London Soroptimists Involved?

The Reader’s Choice Award is chosen by avid readers (not from the literary world) including, in 2020, Soroptimist East London members!  The shortlist of six books has just arrived. So, we are busy reading – enjoying – and critiquing some great unpublished novels. We’ve been told that the authors welcome the feedback and find it incredibly useful so it’s a responsible task. With such a wealth of talent, it’s also difficult.

Why did members get involved? Easy question. We want a future in which many more British black and Asian women writers are published, publicly acclaimed, and sell lots of books. We don’t just read books. We want to help get great books published – and we stand up for women.

When will the prize be announced?

The winners will be announced at an online event on the 16th October 2020!

Want to learn more about the writers?

Are you’re interested to learn more about the women writers shortlisted for the prize and their work?  Join a special free event on Saturday 5 September at 7.30- 8.30pm organised for the 2020 shortlisted writers together with Yvonne Battle-Felton.  Thanks to Irenosen Okojie (the Prize Advocate) for organising. It’s part of the Untitled Festival – and you are invited!

2016 shortlisted women authors of the Soroptimist Literary Prize with judge Kadija George
2016 Shortlisted Authors with judge Kadija George Photo: M. Farrar

You can find out about it (and the Soroptimist Literary Prize) on the Soroptimist Leeds Literary prize website and on the Untitled Festival website. To get your free ticket please register through Eventbrite:

And to learn more about Soroptimist East London ….

Soroptimist East London is a vibrant group of women living in, working in, or with connections to London’s East End. We empower women to achieve positive change and sustainable development right here in East London and beyond. To find out more, read our blog What does Soroptimist East London Do? and check out our activities and calendar of events.

If you’d like to learn more or join us, contact us for a chat.

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