Kavya Prize – New Writers Prize To Celebrate Scotland’s Ethnically Diverse Communities

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A new Scottish literary prize has been launched aimed at celebrating published work and new writing by Scotland’s ethnically diverse communities.

The Kavya Prize, in association with the University of Glasgow, seeks to encourage Scottish black, indigenous, and people of colour writers – either living in Scotland or abroad.

The inaugural prize for full-length published works of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry or short story collections will be awarded in May 2022 and is worth £1000.

Kavya is a popular and well recognised word in Sanskrit and refers to a literary style or a completed body of literature that was used in Indian courts of the Maharajahs who nurtured the cultural arts in India.

The prize is the brainchild of Indian-born Scottish author Leela Soma, who said:

“The Kavya Prize in Scotland seeks to encourage diverse voices and shift the gaze of the literary scene from decades of the ‘norm’ to become more inclusive. The need for recognising diverse voices in a multicultural Scotland is long overdue.”

“To reflect our rainbow nation in our books will encourage the young ‘new Scots’ to access, participate and contribute to mainstream Scottish literature. Starting this Prize in the Year of Stories Scotland 2022 is an important milestone for writers of colour.”

Dr Zoe Strachan

zoe strachan

Dr Zoe Strachan, a Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, said:

“Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow strives to encourage a community of writers and readers that reaches far beyond our cohort and alumni.”

“We are honoured that Leela approached us about the Kavya Prize, and hope that it will become an important and treasured part of the Scottish literary scene as well as an aspiration for our talented students and graduates.”

“We look forward to developing more opportunities for new writers in association with the enthusiastic supporters of the prize – and, of course, to seeing who will be on the shortlist in 2022!”

Judging Panel

The judging panel for the Kavya Prize will be –

  • Professor Bashabi Fraser, CBE, Scottish-Indian  poet, children’s writer, critic and academic
  • Tawona Sithole, a Zimbabwean-born writer, poet, musician and performer who now lives in Scotland and is an Artist in Residence at the University of Glasgow.
  • Leila Aboulela, a fiction writer of Sudanese origin who now lives in Scotland

For more information contact Aine Allardyce in the University of Glasgow Communications and Public Affairs Office on 07976 201938 or email aine.allardyce@glasgow.ac.uk or media@glasgow.ac.uk

Kavya Prize Submissions

Publishers may submit full length novels, works of creative non-fiction and poetry collections first published in the United Kingdom between 1 December 2020 and 31 December 2021.

The prize is open to Black, Indigenous, and People Of Colour (BIPOC) writers who are Scottish writers either resident or non-resident in Scotland which includes Scots by birth, upbringing or inclination.

Submissions can be made to the Kavya Prize to Danielle Schwertner, the Prize’s administrator on danielle.schwertner@glasgow.ac.uk

About Leela Soma

leela soma twitter image

Leela Soma is a Scottish-based writer who was born in India, and now lives in Glasgow. She writes novels, poetry and short stories which have been published in several anthologies and publications. Learn more about Leela Soma.

About Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow’s Creative Writing postgraduate taught, and research-led writing courses are among the most challenging and popular in Britain. They have helped launch the career of a number of successful writers. Learn more about  Creative Writing at UofG.

Glasgow Writers – Leela Soma


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