London Jamaican Writer Leone Ross Shortlisted for Saboteur Award

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Our thanks to Robert Lee for bringing this item to our attention.

Peepal Tree Press is thrilled to announce that the Saboteur Awards judges shortlisted Leone Ross’s Come Let Us Sing Anyway (Peepal Tree Press) for the award for Best Short Story Collection.

This is Leone’s second nomination of the year, after she was nominated for the Jhalak Prize, which last year was won by Peepal Tree Associate Fiction Editor and author, Jacob Ross for his riveting Caribbean crime novel, The Bone Reader. Peepal Tree is no stranger to award success, with wins including the Clarissa Luard Award, the Forward Prize and the Casa de la Américas Literary Award.

Independent and small presses dominate the Saboteur Awards, which celebrate the best books published by the little guys of the book world.

“It’s very nice to be shortlisted,” Leone said. “There are so many wonderful books nominated this year, and the fact readers can vote directly makes me grateful for all the people who’ve read and enjoyed my book.”

“Reading Come Let Us Sing Anyway is like closing the door, kicking off those heels and knowing you’re home,” said reader Nicola Brooks-Williamson.

In Leone Ross’s luminous collection of short stories – ranging from richly extended stories to intense pieces of flash fiction, set between Jamaica and Britain – anything can happen.

Ross’ setting may be familiar and her characters recognisable, but these stories take a magical/fantastical turn that dramatically transforms the way we see. Other stories draw us straight into the world of the fantastical or the implausible with such meticulous and concrete detail that we accept these as reality: a wife returns from the dead and their marital bickering resumes, a headless girl barely lifts an eyebrow among her school companions, a security guard collects discarded body parts and uncovers a deeper empathy for women.

At the heart of the stories is Leone Ross’s refusal to accept any boundary between the private and the magical. There is a seriousness here too, in the author’s intentions: a vision of the fluidity of the person, the inequalities of the body politic – from the deaths of black people at the hands of the police, to the deep shifts that signal subtle changes in the nature of capitalism.

This is a richly varied, witty and entertaining collection whose frankness may sometimes tickle, sometimes shock; but always engages the intellect and the heart.

Leone Ross is a novelist, short story writer, editor, journalist and academic of Jamaican and Scottish ancestry. She was born in England and grew up in Jamaica. Her first novel, All the Blood Is Red was long listed for the Orange Prize; her second novel, Orange Laughter, was chosen as a BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour Watershed Fiction favourite; and the original manuscript for Come Let Us Sing Anyway was shortlisted for Salt Publishing’s Scott Prize. In 2015, Leone was one of three judges for the Manchester Prize for Fiction.

Come Let Us Sing Anyway and other stories is published by Peepal Tree Press. RRP: £9.99. 190pp. ISBN: 9781845233341.

The Saboteur Awards started in 2011, to find the best book reviewed by Sabotage Reviews. Since then it has grown to become a national prize for independent publishers and little magazines.

Peepal Tree Press is the world’s largest publisher of Caribbean and Black British fiction, poetry, literary criticism, memoirs and historical studies. Jeremy Poynting, recently awarded the Bocas Henry Swanzy Award for Distinguished Service to Caribbean Letters, is the Managing Editor. Recent prize successes include the Felix Dennis Award for Best First Collection for Wife by Tiphanie Yanique and the Jhalak Prize for best book by a UK writer of colour, awarded to Jacob Ross for his novel The Bone Readers. Based in Leeds and founded in 1985, it publishes around 25 books a year and has published over 350 titles.

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