Budding YA (Young Adult) author Rachel Faturoti has been awarded the inaugural Bernardine Evaristo Scholarship, a new programme at Brunel University London aimed at bolstering the prospects of Black and Asian writers in the UK.
The Croydon-based writer will join Brunel in September and work towards a two-year part-time master’s degree, backed by funding and support from Booker Prize winning author Bernardine Evaristo, a professor in the university’s well regarded Creative Writing department.
"It feels very surreal, but I am grateful to have been awarded the scholarship,” said Rachel, who is due to have her first two novels, Finding Folkshore and Sade and Her Shadow Beasts, published in 2022.
Launched in May, the Bernardine Evaristo Scholarship invited Black and Asian writers – two groups that have historically been under-represented in the publishing industry – to submit 2000 words of original fiction or ten pages of poetry to be considered. Despite stiff competition, Rachel’s work stood-out for its particularly high quality and depth.
“I have been writing stories and poetry since I was very young, but it wasn't until 2018 that I began writing my first young adult novel,” said Rachel, whose work focusses on important issues such as gentrification, grief and mental health. “I am very passionate about Black representation in children's fiction.”
Announcing the winner, Prof Evaristo, who in 2019 became the first black Briton to win the illustrious Booker Prize, said: “Rachel Faturoti is the very deserving recipient of this scholarship, the first one for creative writing at Brunel.
“The quality of her writing demonstrates that she has enormous potential.”
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