Sky Arts RSL Writers Awards




The winners of the Sky Arts RSL Writers Awards are:

Fiction: Christina Fonthes, mentored by Irenosen Okojie

Non-Fiction: Clementine E Burnley, mentored by Colin Grant

Playwriting: Sarah Isaac, mentored by Roy Williams

Poetry: Pey Oh, mentored by Pascale Petit

Screenwriting: Adiza Shardow, mentored by Tanika Gupta

You can watch videos of them all talking about what winning means to them below.

For full information, please see the press release.

Shortlisted writers were:

Fiction: Marissa Mireles Hinds, Ioney Smallhorne

Non-Fiction: Emily Abdeni Holman, Omar Khan

Playwriting: Nicole Latchana, Yuyu Wang

Poetry: Joyce Chen, Naush Sabah

Screenwriting: Jessica Benhamou, Luis Hindman

The Sky Arts RSL Writers Awards celebrate and nurture British writers of colour at the beginnings of their careers. Five  winners will receive ten mentoring sessions over the course of 12 months with an RSL Fellow writing in their form, as well as two sessions with Awards Ambassador Bernardine Evaristo.

Sky Arts RSL Writers Award Mentors
Five RSL Fellows will mentor five emerging writers in non fiction, screenwriting, fiction, poetry and playwriting.

Colin Grant  is an author, historian, and Associate Fellow in the Centre for Caribbean Studies. His five books include the memoir, Bageye at the Wheel, which was shortlisted for the Pen/Ackerley Prize, 2013. His latest book is Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation. As a producer for the BBC, Grant directed several radio drama documentaries including A Fountain of Tears: The Murder of Federico Garcia Lorca. He also writes for The GuardianTLS and New York Review of Books. He was elected an RSL Fellow in 2020.

Tanika Gupta has written over 20 stage plays, over the past 20 years, that have been produced in major theatres across the UK. She has written 30 radio plays for the BBC and several original television dramas, as well as scripts for EastEnders, Grange Hill and The Bill. She has taught drama and run workshops across the world and is a fellow of Rose Bruford College. She runs courses for the Arvon Foundation and has led playwriting workshops in many UK universities, as well as for the National Theatre, Royal Court, Hampstead, Young Vic and Theatre Royal Stratford East. Tanika has been writer in residence at the National Theatre and Soho Theatre, a fellow at the Playwright’s Studio in Glasgow and a writing tutor in Winchester Women’s prison. She has won numerous awards for her work. She was elected an RSL Fellow in 2016.

Irenosen Okojie is a Nigerian British writer. Her debut novel Butterfly Fish won a Betty Trask award and was shortlisted for an Edinburgh International First Book Award. Her work has been featured in The New York TimesThe Observer, The Guardian, the BBC and the Huffington Post amongst other publications. Her short stories have been published internationally including Salt’s Best British Short Stories 2017 and 2020, Kwani? and The Year’s Best Weird Fiction. Her short story collection Speak Gigantular , published by Jacaranda Books was shortlisted for the Edgehill Short Story Prize, the Jhalak Prize, the Saboteur Awards and nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. Her new collection of stories, Nudibranch published by Little Brown’s Dialogue Books was longlisted for the Jhalak Prize. She is the winner of the 2020 AKO Caine Prize For Fiction for her story, ‘Grace Jones’. She was elected an RSL Fellow in 2018 and is currently Vice Chair. 

Pascale Petit, was born in Paris, grew up in France and Wales and lives in Cornwall. She is of French/Welsh/Indian heritage. Her eighth collection, Tiger Girl (Bloodaxe Books, 2020), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection, won an RSL Literature Matters award while in progress, and a poem from the book won the Keats-Shelley Prize. Her seventh collection, Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe Books, 2017), won the inaugural Laurel Prize, and the RSL’s Ondaatje Prize. Four previous collections were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Petit is widely translated and travelled, particularly in the Amazon rainforest and India. Trained as a sculptor at the Royal College of Art, she spent the first part of her life as a visual artist and was a co-founding tutor of The Poetry School. She was elected an RSL Fellow in 2018. 

Roy Williams began writing plays in 1990. His plays include Death of England (National Theatre); The Firm (Hampstead Theatre); Advice for the Young at Heart (Theatre Centre); an adaptation of The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Pilot Theatre); Days of Significance (RSC); Sucker Punch (Royal Court); Category B (Tricycle Theatre); Absolute Beginners (Lyric Hammsersmith); Little Sweet Thing (Nottingham Playhouse); Fallout (Royal Court); Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads (National Theatre); Clubland (Royal Court); The Gift (Birmingham Rep/Tricycle); Local Boy (Hampstead); Souls (Theatre Centre); Lift Off (Royal Court); StarstruckJosie’s Boy (Red Ladder Theatre Co); Wildefire (Hampstead); The No-Boys Cricket Club (Theatre Royal Stratford East); and Kingston 14 (Theatre Royal Stratford East). His writing for television includes Offside, for which he won a BAFTA. He was appointed OBE for Services to Drama in 2008. He was elected an RSL Fellow in 2018.