2019 BAME Prize Shortlist

We’re thrilled to unveil the shortlist for the 2019 Guardian and 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize.

Congratulations to Arenike Adebajo, Oluchi Ezeh, Sonia Hope, Jameen Kaur, Jenna Mahale and Kandace Siobhan Walker.

The winner will be announced on 10th September 2019 at a prize ceremony in London.

Congratulations to all the shortlistees!

Arenike Adebajo
The Hyacinth Girls

Set in the height of the rainy season, The Hyacinth Girls is a coming-of-age tale exploring the fraught legacies of colonialism through the lives and loves of two teenage girls in Lagos.

Arenike is a London based writer who grew up between Lagos and the UK. She is a recent graduate of Cambridge University. Her writing is influenced by the work of Akwaeke Emezi, Toyin Ojih Odutola and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
Twitter: @arenikea

Oluchi Ezeh
50 Rose Tower

50 Rose Tower is the story of a young man named Marcus who revisits one particular summer from his childhood in his South London tower block home. He remembers a formative event that irrevocably changed the people he lived with, and created a small legend, involving the couple that lived across from him, his best friend’s brother, and the strange man who lived downstairs. It’s about the inevitability of growing up, and realising that summer can never truly be endless, no matter how it feels.

Oluchi Ezeh is a recent English Literature graduate from Oxford University. She worked as the first Film and Theatre Editor for Onyx Magazine, a magazine for African and Caribbean students intended to encourage participation in creative fields. She has also worked in theatre as an assistant director and an actress, performing in Ntozake Shange’s ‘For Colored Girls’ in Oxford, and is currently working on other writing projects. This is her first short story. 
Twitter: @Olu30

Sonia Hope
The Cat by The Incredible Jimmy Smith

In 1960s London, the discovery of a jazz record bought in secret causes marital strife between a young Caribbean couple. The consequences are disastrous.

Sonia Hope is a North-East Londoner of Jamaican and Trinidadian heritage. She is a Jerwood/Arvon mentee (fiction) 2019/20, mentored by Nicholas Royle. Her stories have appeared in The Nottingham Review, Flash Flood, Flight Journal and Ellipsis Zine. She is the Librarian at the Heinz Archive & Library, National Portrait Gallery.
Twitter: @soniamhope

Jameen Kaur
Once we were Warriors

Once we were Warriors is rooted in familial bonds of love and resilience, and the search of identity – whether that of a samosa, or that of a parent struggling with their child’s addiction. Set in the UK the story explores ‘them and us’ narratives and digs deep to lay bare the impact of shame, the inter-generational trauma of colonialism, yearning and the unyielding power of hope and community.

Jameen’s arrival on earth fell on a New Year’s Eve as fireworks exploded above Crawley hospital, UK. She has since had the good fortune to live and learn in different regions of the world, while following her passion to strengthen justice and equality for women and girls and people living in poverty. She passionately believes in the power of story-telling as a connector and healer of people. She has previously published some of her poems ‘Dear Mrs Bhullar’ and ‘Mind the Gap’ and continues to seek opportunities that nurture her writing. She holds a Masters in International Human Rights Law.
Twitter: @day_night200

Jenna Mahale 
Packed Lunch 

Packed Lunch is the story of a fraud case and a fractured family. It is a meditation on food, digital culture, transition, and – of all things – jury duty. 

Jenna Mahale is a London-based freelance journalist and recent UCL graduate. Her work has been published by VICE, Dazed & Confused, and Brainchild Festival. She is currently writing for the Critics of Colour x Roundhouse collective.
Twitter: @jennamahale

Kandace Siobhan Walker
Deep Heart

Deep Heart follows three sisters running wild in the isolated island community where they live with their grandparents. When one of the girls disappears, her sisters search for her in the forest. 

Kandace Siobhan Walker is a writer and filmmaker. She was born in Toronto to a Jamaican-Canadian mother and a Gullah-Geechee father, and raised in Britain. Her short film ‘Last Days of the Girl’s Kingdom’, produced in collaboration with ICA and DAZED, was aired on Channel 4’s Random Acts. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Black Bough, Prototype and The Good Journal. She lives in Wales, and is currently working on a novel.
Twitter: @kandacesiobhan

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