Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award 2013
This year, for the first time, each of the three shortlisted writers is eligible because of their own cultural origins as well as their stories.
The writers will celebrate at a ceremony at Seven Stories on 23rd May 2013, when the winner will be announced. The award will go to the best work of unpublished fiction for 8-to-12-year-olds by a writer, aged 18 years or over, who has not previously published a novel for children.
* One of a Kind by Jude (Najoud) Ensaff *
One of a Kind follows Raheema, a sixteen-year old living in Northern Iraq. When her parents unexpectedly flee the country, leaving her and her siblings with relatives, life as she knew it is thrown into turmoil. As she watches the country disintegrate, she plans her escape but is it too late? Her brother is arrested, her hometown and uncle’s house occupied and she is left to battle the chaos around her. Reluctantly, she is forced to place her trust in others but will they betray her or help her and her family?
Jude Ensaff has always enjoyed writing, since about the age of seven or eight. She remembers using her mum’s typewriter to create ‘masterpieces’ and then filing them away in a drawer, and telling some of her dad’s friends rather proudly when they asked her what she wanted to be, when she grew up – that she wanted to be ‘a writer’.
* Samosa Girl by Swapna Haddow *
Following a humiliating incident at a family wedding, thirteen-year-old Divya develops superpowers. She hides the secret of her new identity, choosing only to confide in her best friend and pledges to use her powers for good. Divya meets trouble in the form of classmate Sandeep, who thwarts Divya’s good actions, framing her for all his misdemeanours. He too has acquired superpowers but is persuaded by his older brother to use his powers to terrorize. Divya makes mistakes in her fight for justice and finds herself alienated from her family and best friend. Being a superhero isn’t as easy as she thought. With a lesson in humility and help from her best friend, Divya eventually leads the police to the thugs.
Londoner Swapna Haddow has been writing since she was young. Her first poem was published in her school newspaper at the age of twelve. It was about a cat. Her eclectic background, having lived all over London, studied Medicine at university, worked in retail, interned in several East London art galleries and worked for a drawing school, have amassed an Everest-sized mountain of ideas for stories and Swapna has spent the last three years working hard writing for children. She writes for young people under the age of twelve because they enjoy a similar sense of humour and a shared appreciation for bogeys, farts and maverick grandparents.
* You’re Not Proper by Tariq Mehmood *
14 year olds, Kiran and Shamshad live in a town seething with Islamophobia. Short skirt wearing Kiran lives with her white mother and beer guzzling Pakistani father, on the white side of town. Hijab wearing Shamshad lives on the Muslim side. For her, Kiran is not a proper Muslim, just a despicable half-cast, who left Islam. To her white friends, Kiran is not proper white. Written in first person, the narrative moves between each story.
There is a dark secret in their families – one hidden under Kiran’s mother’s floorboards, and in the stony silence of Shamshad’s house. Their fathers come from the same village in Pakistan, where the secret was born. When Kiran asks to be allowed to go to Pakistan, she unleashes a furious argument…
Tariq Mehmood entered the award because his three children are from diverse religious, cultural and religious backgrounds. Kashmiri, Pakistani, Tamil and English. Like many children in England, they have multiple identities. Tariq says: “I have children who are not white, who read a lot, but they themselves are fictionally invisible and where they do come into characters which maybe close to them, at best they are appendages to white characters or they might as well be white. In Diverse Voices, I saw the recognition of the importance of creating a new literary landscape that reflected the world around us, that is blooming with thousands of different flowers, in which children are its scents.”
via Frances Lincoln – Diverse Voices.
Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award was jointly founded by Frances Lincoln Ltd and Seven Stories – National Centre for Children’s Books in memory of Frances Lincoln (1945-2001). The award aims to encourage and promote diversity in children’s fiction.