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2019 Jhalak Prize Winner Awarded to In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne

This year’s Jhalak Prize was awarded to Guy Gunaratne’s In Our Mad and Furious City. Inspired by the real-life murder of a British army soldier by religious fanatics, Gunaratne’s novel follows Selvon, Ardan, and Yusuf, three young Londoners, whose lives are interupted by forty-eight hours of extremism and violence.

Guy Gunaratne’s  Our Mad and Furious City.

“Unflinching and courageous, the novel weaves a rich, nuanced tapestry of fears and differences, loves and loyalties, and marks the arrival of a powerful new chronicler of London," prize organizers said.

The Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Color is an “annual award that seeks to celebrate books by British/British resident BAME writers.” This award also comes with a £1,000 prize. Gunaratne’s book was unanimously chosen by the judging panel, which included playwright and poet Sabrina Mahfouz, author Anna Perera, journalist Sarah Shaffi, and Siana Bangura, poet and producer.

Sabrina Mahfouz, Sarah Shaffi, Anna Perera and Siana Bangura.
Clockwise from top left: Sabrina Mahfouz, Sarah Shaffi, Anna Perera and Siana Bangura.

Bangura said:

“Guy’s book is part of a growing alternative canon of classics – timely, important, accessible and destined to be influential. The book’s beating heart is youthful, millennial, and it is multi-hyphenated and multi-layered, like the characters bursting through its pages.”

In Our Mad and Furious City was published by Tinder Press. Guy Gunaratne, one of the judges for the Goldsmiths Prize 2019, lives between the UK and Sweden and has worked as a documentary filmmaker in human rights journalism.

The shortlist for the Jhalak Prize included Built: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Structures by Roma Agrawal, Happiness by Aminatta Forna, Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of the Empire by Akala, The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus, and The Boy At The Back of The Class by Onjali Q Rauf.


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