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Jason Allen-Paisant Shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2024

Thursday, 18 Apr 2024

No Text More good prize news for Jason Allen-Paisant and his second collection, Self-Portrait as Othello, which has made it onto the 2024 Jhalak Prize shortlist! Congratulations to Jason and all the other books and publishers included.

First awarded in March 2017, the Jhalak Prize seeks to celebrate books by British/British resident BAME writers. The prizes are unique in that they accept entries published in the UK by writers of colour. These include (and not limited to) fiction, non-fiction, short stories, graphic novels, poetry and all other genres.

The Jhalak Prize awards £1000 to each winner along with a unique work of art created by artists chosen for the annual Jhalak Art Residency. Furthermore, all short listed authors receive one-year complimentary membership of The London Library, the UK's largest independent library. Each winner receives a two-year complimentary membership.

The winners will be revealed on 30th May.

Read more at the announcement in The Bookseller and on the prize website.
No Text Jason Allen-Paisant's debut collection Thinking With Trees won the 2022 OCM Bocas Prize for poetry and was an Irish Times and White Review Book of the Year 2021. In Poetry London Maryam Hessavi wrote, 'Jason Allen-Paisant is uncompromising when digging down through the undergrowth of our imperialist past – and yet he succeeds in replanting new narratives in the same soil where these toxic ideologies used to, and still, reside.'

The interlocking poems of his second collection, Self-Portrait as Othello, imagine Othello in the urban landscapes of modern London, Paris and Venice and invent the kinds of narrative he might tell about his intersecting identities. Poetic memoir and ekphrastic experiment, Self-Portrait as Othello focuses on a character at once fictional and real. Othello here represents a structure of feeling that was emerging in seventeenth-century Venice, and is still with us.

Portraiting himself as Othello, Allen-Paisant refracts his European travels and considers the Black male body, its presence, transgressiveness and vulnerabilities. Othello's intertwined identities as 'immigrant' and 'Black', which often operate as mutually reinforcing vectors, speak to us in the landscape of twenty-first-century Europe.

The collection is winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2023 and the the T.S. Eliot Prize 2023, as well as being the Poetry Book Society Spring Choice 2023 and a Guardian and The Irish Times Book of the Year. It is currently also shortlisted for the Writers’ Prize 2024 and longlisted for 2024 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.




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