The Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2017 Winners

We announced the winners of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2017 on Thursday 19th October at The People’s Palace, Queen Mary University of London. They were:

Some Freedom Dreams by Ndinda Kioko (Fiction)
Petit Navire by Mehran Waheed (Poetry)
Crinoline Lady by Julie Abrams-Humphries (Life Writing)

Special commendations went to:

Seven Hells by Zaid Hassan (Fiction)
What Yung Thug’s Colour Theory Best Describes As An Open Wound Or Open Letter by Momtaza Mehri (Poetry)
Bentong! Go Back to Bentong! by Aliyah Kim Keshani (Life Writing)

The full shortlist:

Fiction

Seven Hells by Zaid Hassan
Bobby by Sarah Frances Armstrong
Sixteen, Seventeen by Max Dunbar
Some Freedom Dreams by Ndinda Kioko
On Day 21 by Ruby Cowling

Poetry

Petit Navire by Mehran Waheed
Belly Dancer Meets Hilāl as Horseman by Rushda Rafeek
Fisher of Men by Caleb Femi
Where the Weight Catches by Claire Lynn
What Yung Thug’s Colour Theory Best Describes As An Open Wound Or Open Letter by Momtaza Mehri

Life Writing

Crinoline Lady by Julie Abrams-Humphries
Bentong! Go Back to Bentong! by Aliyah Kim Keshani
Mixed Blessings – A Primer by Melissa Fu
The Heavens Also Weep by Sarah Udoh-Grossfurthner
Safe in the Arms of Jesus by Sally St Claire

The judges were

Susheila Nasta MBE (Chair) Founding Editor of WasafiriEmeritus at the Open University and has recently joined Queen Mary College as Professor of Modern and Contemporary Literature

Sabrina Mahfouz Award-winning poet, playwright and screenwriter and former Sky Arts Scholar for Poetry, Mahfouz’s work has been performed in the UK and the US

Andrea Stuart Writer and historian, author of Showgirls which was adapted for stage and screen, and the award-winning The Rose of Martinique: A Biography of Napoleon’s Josephine

Boyd Tonkin is an award-winning British writer, journalist and critic who chaired the judging panel of the Man Booker International Prize in 2016 – the English-speaking world’s premier award for translated fiction. He writes for The Observer, Financial Times, The Guardian, The Economist, The Spectator, New Scientist and Newsweek magazine, and contributes to BBC radio.

Background to the prize:

The path to literary success can sometimes seem elusive, even for those with talent. So, in 2009, the Wasafiri New Writing Prize was launched to support new writers, with no limits on age, gender, nationality or background. With a list of high profile judges over the years including Brian Chikwava, Colin Grant, Maya Jaggi, Jackie Kay, Tabish Khair, Toby Litt and Blake Morrison, the NWP has boosted the confidence of writers in competitive times. In the words of one winner: ‘Before I was shortlisted I was … convinced I was never going to write another poem again .. thank you so much for this, I never … want to stop writing.’


The Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2018 will open in the New Year

We will be welcoming submissions in one of three categories: Poetry, Fiction and Life Writing (the competition is open to anyone who has not published a complete book in the category entered).

'Before I was shortlisted I was ... convinced I was never going to write another poem again .. thank you so much for this, I never ... want to stop writing.' Amaal Said