English lecturer’s unpublished novel wins new literary competition
A novel by a University of Sussex English lecturer has come first in a competition for unpublished works of fiction by Black or Asian women.
Dr Minoli Salgado’s book A Little Dust on the Eyes picked up the top award in the inaugural SI Leeds Literary Prize , which was run as part of the Ilkley Literature Festival last week (3 October).
The prize included a cheque for £2,000 and an opportunity for the novel, which relates the tale of two cousins separated by civil war who are reunited by a family wedding before the Asian tsunami of 2004, to be considered for publication by independent publishers Peepal Tree Press.
Dr Salgado’s unpublished collection of short stories, Broken Jaw, was also long-listed for the award, which was judged by a panel chaired by literary publisher Margaret Busby OBE.
Dr Salgado said: “My books are set in Sri Lanka, my ancestral home, and I guess the thread that links them is my interest in silenced stories. The SI Leeds competition came at a perfect time and offered that rare opportunity of an outlet for these narratives. I knew my books would be read by people who care about issues that really matter to me.”
The prize was created and run by Soroptimist International of Leeds, in partnership with the Ilkley Literature Festival and Peepal Tree Press. The prize aims to act as a loudspeaker for Black and Asian women’s voices and a platform to discover exciting new talent from a group largely under-represented on bookshelves.
Dr Salgado, a Senior Lecturer in English, teaches postcolonial literature at Sussex and has had short fiction published in various journals and anthologies. One of her short stories was highly commended in the 2009 Commonwealth Short Story Award and subsequently broadcast globally.