Reading the entries to the Guardian and 4th Estate BAME Short Story prize confirms what I knew all along: that there are some very talented writers of colour out there. And for whatever reason, they’re not finding representation, getting publishing deals or winning prizes. Which is why an award like this is so necessary.
Like the other judges – BuzzFeed’s Bim Adewunmi; Waterstones’ head of books, Melissa Cox; writer Bernardine Evaristo; 4th Estate editor Anna Kelly; and Guardian women’s editor Nosheen Iqbal, I was looking for one thing: new, fresh and exciting voices. And boy, did we find them.
The entries were wide-ranging, spanning moments in history, different countries, regions, cultures and perspectives. It made me realise how untidy the word “diversity” is, lumping so many cultures into one homogenous mess.