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More than fifty submissions were received for the first ever Diverse Book Awards created by writing community The Author School ( Today, the longlist is officially unveiled revealing the outstanding diverse and inclusive books that were published by British/UK-based authors/publishers in 2019. The shortlist will be revealed at the end of September and the winners in each category announced in October.

Helen Lewis, co-founder of The Author School, says: “The level of interest in The Diverse Book Awards in its first year has been unprecedented. We are thrilled with the number of high quality submissions from publishing houses—big and small—as well as self-published authors and hybrid publishers. We really hope that next year brings even more self-published authors and indie publishers into the spotlight because it is often those who are pushing the boundaries of diversity and inclusivity in fiction.”

Abiola Bello, co-founder of The Author School and prize-winning author, adds: “Through The Diverse Book Awards I have discovered new diverse books and authors that I hadn’t previously been aware of. I hope that the longlist inspires others to discover new talent too. The conversation around diversity in publishing has stepped up a level over recent months, at a time when we were shouting out for submissions to The Diverse Book Awards. The longlist represents the work that has been done already within publishing and showcases that it is truly is possible for diverse and inclusive books to be the ‘norm’ rather than ‘exception’. We hope that encouraging publishers and authors to write more diverse and inclusive books – and enter them into next year’s awards – will be a positive step forward for the publishing industry in this country.”

Shortlists for this year’s Polari Prize and Polari First Book Prize

Sponsored by Pen & Inc CILIP’s magazine and listings guide to celebrate diversity and inclusion in children’s publishing (, Hashtag BLAK, the new diverse and inclusive traditional imprint under Hashtag Press (, bookshop This Is Book Love ( and award-winning book publicity agency Literally PR ( 

Rob Green, Pen & Inc editor, says: “The Diverse Book Awards are such a great thing for us to be involved with. We know that there is a wealth of great talent out there, but many of them face real barriers to getting their work seen and published. The Diverse Book awards will remove some of those barriers, and I’m really excited by the prospect of discovering some fantastic stories and characters.”

The three winners from each category will receive a bundle of prizes including a trophy, a six-month PR and marketing membership of Literally PR’s ‘100 Club’, This Is Book Love bookshop listing, editorial in Pen & Inc, the opportunity to be part of an author panel event to be hosted by The Author School and to be part of the Margate Bookie online festival program in November alongside Helen Lewis and Abiola Bello.

The Diverse Book Awards Longlist

Children’s Fiction

Son of the Circus by E. L. Norry (Scholastic)

My Hair by Hannah Lee, illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan (Faber & Faber)

Planet Omar Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian, illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik (Hodder)

The Mysterious Melody by SP K-Mushambi, illustrated by Kudzai Gumbo (Naniso Media Ltd & Conscious Dreams Publishing)

The Star Outside My Window by Onjali Q. Rauf (Orion Children’s Books)

Tin Boy by Steve Cole, illustrated by Oriol Vidal (Barrington Stoke)

Toad Attack by Patrice Lawrence, illustrated by Becka Moor (Barrington Stoke)


Young Adult Fiction

All The Things We Never Said by Yasmin Rahman (Hot Key Books)

Becoming Dinah by Kit De Waal (Orion Children’s Books)

Chinglish: An Almost Entirely True Story by Sue Cheung (Andersen Press)

Oh My Gods by Alexandra Sheppard (Scholastic)

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta (Hodder)

The Boxer by Nikesh Shukla (Hodder)

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Hachette)

The Tunnels Below by Nadine Wild-Palmer (Pushkin Children’s)

Adult Fiction

A Book of Secrets by Kate Morrison (Jacaranda)

Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh (Simon & Schuster)

Everything You Ever Wanted by Luiza Sauma (Penguin/Viking)

Golden Child by Claire Adam (Faber & Faber)

Living The Dream by Isabelle Dupuy (Jacaranda)

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (Trapeze)

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins (Penguin/Viking)

This Green and Pleasant Land by Ayisha Malik (Zaffre/Bonnier)


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