SI Leeds Literary Prize and Arvon Awards the Space to Write Bursary for Unpublished Female Writers of Colour

19 Dec 2023 / News

SI Leeds Literary Prize - Haleemah Alaydi

The SI Leeds Literary Prize proudly announces Haleemah Alaydi as the recipient of the Space to Write Bursary, generously supported by Arvon. The bursary is designed to develop the craft and confidence of an unpublished female writer of colour in the UK.

Haleemah’s outstanding short story collection, ‘How to Become a Refugee and Other Stories,’ explores themes of displacement, identity, loss of home and relationship dynamics through a diverse range of genres including literary fiction, horror, and magic realism. The collection investigates the complexities of human displacement, bringing unique and compelling perspectives to the forefront.

Haleemah Alaydi says: “I’m very excited to win the SI Leeds Literary Prize/Arvon Space to Write Bursary. The bursary will provide me with a fantastic gateway to push my creative project to publication, allowing me to hone my craft and have the space to write stories about characters silenced in mainstream culture“.

Judges were unanimous in their selection of Haleemah Alaydi’s application, praising her compelling, original, and distinctive writing. The SI Leeds Literary Prize, in collaboration with Arvon, aims to champion literary perspectives from marginalised communities.

With Arvon’s support, the bursary will grant Haleemah the time and space to refine her project ahead of the 2024 biennial SI Leeds Literary Prize for unpublished fiction by Black and Asian women. Haleemah will be given a place in an Arvon at Home Writing Week of her choice, featuring transformative writing workshops, one-to-ones, and social gatherings conducted by two Arvon tutors via Zoom.

The SI Leeds Literary Prize will open for entries in 2024 and aims to platform fresh and original literary voices from unpublished Black and Asian women in the UK, helping them to reach new audiences in mainstream culture. Previous Prize winners include Suad Kamardeen, Wenyan Lu, Shereen Tadros, Amita Murray and Mahsuda Snaith. In November 2023 Peepal Tree Press published an anthology of writing by SI writers, The Unheard Stories edited by Saima Mir, including alumnae, judges, and patrons of the Prize.

Find out more about the SI Leeds Literary Prize.

Browse Arvon’s Online Writing Weeks.

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