Narjas Zatat and Shirley Hottier are this year’s first place winners of the Faber and Andlyn (FAB) Prize for new writers and illustrators from underrepresented backgrounds. The first of its kind in the UK, the FAB Prize aims to discover and showcase new talent, closing the gap between what is currently published and the reality for many families.
Zatat won the text prize with her epic YA fantasy submission, Djinn-touched, described by the judges as ‘engaging, sumptuous and magical. Narjas is an incredibly talented storyteller with the potential to be a true writing star. The decision was unanimous.’
First place illustration prize winner Shirley Hottier submitted a selection of illustrations, which the judges said ‘have a great sense of fun and energy. She combines colours effortlessly and her bold style leaps from the page. Shirley’s work has a beautiful, retro feel, along with joyful themes and characters.’
Second place for the text prize was awarded to Ben Williams for his middle-grade submission, Grace Weaver and the Other Kingdom. The judges praised Ben for his ‘use of prophecy, magic and other fantastical elements making him a writer to watch’.
Samareh Azadi, awarded second place for the illustration prize, stood out for her ‘restrained colour palette, careful and considered use of detail, as well as her use of gorgeous printmaking techniques, which adds a lovely texture and tactile quality to her work’.
Leah Thaxton, Publisher said: ‘The wealth of talent and number of book signings coming out of this prize is immensely exciting. The impact of these winners’ artistic and literary output will resonate across classrooms, libraries, and in homes – not to mention all the runners-up and alumni who have deals yet to be announced, and books in the pipeline. We are delighted to celebrate more untapped talent and see the landscape changing.’
Jasmine Richards, FAB Prize judge said: ‘What an absolute treat to be a part of this prize. I was delighted by the range and ambition of the stories submitted. And with the illustrations, it was fabulous to see so much magic rubbing shoulders with the gorgeous observations of children and their everyday lives. The FAB Prize does a great job of platforming talent and I’m excited to see what happens next with this year’s winners.’
Text and illustration winners will be awarded £1,500 each and various opportunities including a free place on a Faber Academy writing course, a one-year portfolio membership from the AOI, a place on a five-part publishing insights programme and the opportunity to shadow established authors and illustrators via BookTrust. The runners-up for both prizes are also awarded £500 each.
A full list of all winners is below. You can download the FAB Prize Booklet, with samples of the illustrations and text from all shortlistees here.
Watch the FAB Prize Ceremony: