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Jacqueline Crooks and Momtaza Mehri win Society of Authors’ awards

We’re excited to announce that Jacqueline Crooks and Momtaza Mehri have won awards for the 2024 Society of Authors (SoA) awards. They were among the 31 winners in this year’s awards which included prose, poetry and children’s literature selections and shortlisted DHA authors, Edward Hogan, Stephen Buoro, and Santanu Bhattacharya.

Crooks’ novel, Fire Rush won the Paul Torday Memorial Prize beating out Justine Gilbert’s Daisy Chain, Fran Hill’s Cuckoo in the Nest, Hilary Taylor’s Sea Defences, and Michelene Wandor’s Orfeo’s Last Act. The prize is awarded to a first novel by a writer over 60. The prize fund is £4,000 and includes a set of the collected works of British writer Paul Torday. Judge Trevor Wood said: ‘An exemplary debut novel that somehow manages to combine politics, romance, thrills, music and a coming-of-age story into one entirely cohesive whole. It takes you from London to Jamaica, via Bristol, each setting beautifully drawn, and captures the sheer exhilaration of both dub reggae and the dance scene it inspired. A musical, lyrical and enchanting treat.’

Presented for published works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by writers under 30, the Somerset Maugham awards were presented to five winners including Momtaza Mehri for her debut poetry collection, Bad Diaspora Poems. Winners are awarded £3,200 each. The other winners were Iona Lee, Cecile Pin, Phoenicia Rogerson, and Katherine Pangonis. On the winners, the judges, Akeem Balogun, Bhanu Kapil, and Ardashir Vakil said: ‘This year’s Somerset Maugham Award shortlist was made up of young voices who used poetry, non-fiction, fiction, or other forms entirely, to explore history in unique fashions and to tell stories that document the present, reveal the author’s psyche, delve deep into our emotions and take us down roads of imaginative brilliance. We encourage more presses and imprints to submit works next year, to expand the possibilities of this prize.’

Read more about the winners here.