Morley literary prize returns in 2024

Morley College London has today announced the return of its Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour, offering unpublished writers of colour opportunities to work with agents and publishers, as well as a cash prize.

Prize co-founder and judge Nelle Andrew said: “The illustrious, wise and supremely talented Toni Morrison once wrote: ‘If you are free then you need to free somebody else. If you have power then it is your job to empower somebody else.’

“As a Literary Agent who is also a woman of colour, one of the most exciting parts my job is to find exciting new talent, empower arresting new voices and advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.

“I have had the privilege to work with many people from across many backgrounds in my career, and now with the help of Morley College London, this is the latest initiative in which I hope to achieve that ambition Toni Morrison advocated so many years ago.”

Former winners

2023 winner Joseph Diwaker

2023’s fiction prize was won by Joseph Diwaker, an Asian-British writer based in Buckinghamshire. His entry I SHALL NOT WANT was cited as “a heartbreaking work centred around the character of James, who is tormented by his sexuality and its perceived conflict with his Christian faith.” Click here to read about the 2023 prize.

In 2022 the winner was Hanna Thomas Uose, a British Japanese writer based in London and Norwich. Uose submitted a draft of her debut novel, WHO WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER. whose manuscript describes “a new drug that halts the ageing process and extends the human lifespan, at a hefty price. Five characters, variously based in London, Tokyo, and San Francisco, must make a choice regarding the drug and face the consequences of their decisions over the ensuing twenty years; their lives intersect as careers are forged and relationships broken.” Click here to read about the 2022 prize.

The inaugural winner in 2021 was Kate Cheka, a Black mixed-race British Tanzanian woman, whose entry SAME DUST was begun while studying at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, and is an exercise in a dream-like moral debate, imagining what would it mean if we explored retribution for gender-based violence, and what does it in the end mean if we accept the definitions and categories of our oppressor. Click here to read about the inaugural 2021 prize.

More information

To find out more about the Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour – including how to enter – please go to www.morleygallery.com/morley-lit-prize-2024.

The deadline for entries is 19 August 2024, with the the shortlist due to be announced on 7 October 2024 and award ceremony due to follow in late October.

The winner will receive a £500 prize as well as individual editorial consultations with an agent on their work, and the chance to ask any questions about the agent/editorial process and how to secure an agent.