Winners of 2021’s Creative Future Writers’ Award announced

The £10,000 prize is intended to celebrate the prose and poetry of writers from traditionally marginalised backgrounds, this year going to two women of Asian heritage. 

Winners of 2021’s Creative Future Writers’ Award announced

Shazia Altaf and Rhiya Pau have earned top accolades at this year’s Creative Future Writers’ Award. Set up in 2013, the award is part of a development programme looking to empower underrepresented writers. It is the only UK award that specifically aims to recognise creatives from every marginalised background. 

Altaf received the platinum prize for prose with her work entitled ‘Essential Thread’, a “heart-rending” story about a woman visiting her brother in a mental health hospital. Pau’s work ‘How Much is Enough’ secured her the platinum award for poetry, exploring the inescapable sense of loss that comes from a life of immigration. 

Pau is a British-born Oxford graduate of Indian heritage from a community with a rich history of migration. She is inspired by the stories of her community and often explores her own sense of identity through the lenses of ritual, travel, food, and language. Her debut collection is set to be published in 2022. 

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Rhiya Pau by Aneka Ganatra

Altaf is a librarian, teacher, and emerging writer from Middlesbrough, with a working-class background. She is currently working on her first novel Jammed Ascent, which has been longlisted for the 2021 Primadonna Novel Prize. Rhiya Pau by Aneka Ganatra

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Shazia Altaf

Overall there were 12 winners, six for each category, ranging from platinum, gold, silver, bronze, highly commended, and commended. Each winner will be invited to attend an awards ceremony at the Southbank Centre in London during the city’s literature festival on 27 October. Tickets are available here.  

Additionally, the awarded authors will be given a number of further development opportunities and see their work printed in an anthology alongside pieces written by this year’s judges. 

The judges consisted of bestselling novelist Dorothy Koomson, award-winning poet Joelle Taylor, director of The Literary Consultancy Aki Schilz, and Poetry School curator/author Sarala Estruch. 

With regards to the selection process, Taylor explained “we chose winners who produced work that was surprising, inventive, thoughtful and epic. In short, work that was a joy to read.” 

This year, there were over 1200 entries to contend with, and a 10% increase in submissions written by unpublished BAME creatives. 

The team at Creative Futures have stated: “The quality of the entries we received was exceptionally high and we are thrilled to have discovered so many emerging, talented writers in our group of twelve winners. We are excited to continue working with them to develop their writing careers through the unique range of development opportunities that Creative Future is able to offer.” 

Header Image Credit: CFWA 2021 Anthology Cover

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Hamish Gray

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Hamish Gray is a recent English Literature and Creative Writing graduate with a deep passion for anything that grabs him, be it literature, film, video games or world culture. He is always looking to learn something new and tackles each experience with the unshakeable belief that good art can come from anywhere.

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