New Kavya Prize 2023 opens for submissions

Published: 10 May 2023

Submissions are now open for The Kavya Prize - which seeks to recognise and encourage the literary achievement of Scottish writers of colour.

Submissions are now open for The Kavya Prize - which seeks to recognise and encourage the literary achievement of Scottish writers of colour.

The inaugural prize in 2022 celebrated published works of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, script or short story collections.

For 2023, the prize is focusing on new writers, giving a platform to new writing of any form or genre for those writers who have never been published.

The winner of The Kavya New Writers Award will receive £500 and the option of a residency at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s Writing Centre, in association with Scottish Book Trust. The winner will be announced in November during Book Week Scotland.

The Kavya Prize, in association with the University of Glasgow, was founded by the Indian-born Scottish author Leela Soma, seeks to recognise, and encourage writers of colour who are Scottish by birth, residence or formation. The prize is also supported by Aye Write, Glasgow’s Book Festival, and free workshops are available at the festival to help writers develop their submissions.

Leela Soma died in December 2022 but it is now hoped The Kavya Prize will be a legacy of her passionate advocacy and support of writers of colour.

Dr Zoe Strachan, a Reader in Creative Writing, at the University of Glasgow, said: “Leela’s death has been a great loss to the literary community in Scotland. She was a keen champion of writers of colour in Scotland, and setting up The Kavya Prize was her brainchild and passion project.

“We are launching this year’s Kavya Prize with a renewed sense of purpose and with the blessing of Leela’s family. As Leela wished, we hope to recognise unpublished writer of colour in Scotland. We hope that many new writers (of any age) will put their work forward for judging. Leela would have been so excited to see the work of these writers being given a platform by The Kavya New Writer’s Award and it is a vital part of her legacy.”

The inaugural prize was won by playwright Uma Nada-Rajah for Toy, Plastic Chicken! published by Salamander Street.

Uma Nada-Rajah said: “I am really touched (and still in shock!) to have been awarded the inaugural Kavya Prize. My respect to all of the organisers and contributors for nurturing a sense of community in the celebration of diverse Scottish voices.”  

Kavya is a popular and well recognised word in Sanskrit and refers to a literary style or a completed body of literature that was used in Indian courts of the Maharajahs who nurtured the cultural arts in India.

The Kavya Prize

Learn more about The Kavya Prize 2023 Submissions are welcome from now to Monday 31 July 2023.

Those interested in submitting are welcome to attend, free of charge, the following two workshops run during Aye Write, which aim to help writers begin and prepare their submissions:

11am-1pm, Friday, 19 May 2023: Tawona Sithole: Starting to Write

11am-1pm, Tuesday, 23 May 2023: Maisie Chan: Starting to Write


About Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow’s Creative Writing postgraduate taught, and research-led writing courses are among the most challenging and popular in Britain. They have helped launch the career of a number of successful writers. 

First published: 10 May 2023