Pluto launches non-fiction prize for African and Caribbean debuts

Pluto Press is partnering with the Pluto Educational Trust (PET) and the Walter Rodney Foundation (WRF) to launch the annual non-fiction Walter Rodney Writing Prize for African and Caribbean women and non-binary debut authors.

The prize intends to celebrate the life and work of Guyanese writer and political activist Walter Rodney, while reflecting and advancing the impact of Rodney’s thinking on scholars and organisers. 

Submissions should include a proposal alongside sample writing, and writers should demonstrate the influence of Rodney’s ideas on their own work. The winner will receive a £4,000 writing grant, alongside access to Pluto, PET, and WRF’s combined global network of contacts. Their debut book will be published by Pluto Press. 

Commenting on the prize and partnership, Neda Tehrani, editor at Pluto Press, said: “Pluto, PET and WRF share a rigorous commitment to internationalist politics, so this collaboration is an excellent fit. Walter Rodney was a giant of the anticolonial movement. We are very excited to see the writing that emerges from this and are delighted to be working towards the broader aim of platforming more voices from the Global South—and most importantly, to be providing the support that enables these writers to be published in the first place. We also know that women and non-binary people in particular still face many barriers to the world of non-fiction publishing.” 

Fiona Dove, PET trustee added: “With this annual prize, we hope to support yet-to-be-published writers in the tradition of Rodney who, in turn, will inspire others to put their knowledge in the service of radical praxis.”

Submissions are open from 23rd March and will close on 23rd August (11.59pm). The longlist will be announced on 1st October, followed by the shortlist announcement on 15th November. The winner of the prize will be announced in early 2022, at an online ceremony. A  panel of judges assessing the shortlist will also be confirmed in the upcoming months.  

Commenting on the prize, Pat, Asha and Shaka Rodney said: “We share the united vision of working towards the inclusion of all people of Africa and the Caribbean in global conversations and to explore and support platforms for these voices to be heard… We envision that this WRF-Pluto Press-PET collaboration will serve as a model for future activities, and we are excited to build a long lasting partnership and legacy through literary works.”

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