Tariq Mehmood has won the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award 2013 for You’re Not Proper. A story that Jake Hope, for the judges, described as: “Contemporary and hard-hitting, You’re Not Proper is the story of two girls with one religion and two very different lifestyles. It offers powerful insight into young people’s lives and the challenges they face around identity and cultural heritage. High on impact and highly engaging, it truly is a story of our age.”
The announcement was made on 23rd May 2013 by John Nicoll, founder of the award, at Seven Stories – National Centre for Children’s Books. Tariq Mehmood spoke to the crowd, via skype, from Beirut, Lebanon, where he is Assistant Professor in the English Department at the American University. He was delighted to win the award and said:
“I have children who are not white, who read a lot, but they themselves are fictionally invisible. In Diverse Voices, I saw the recognition of the importance of creating a new literary landscape that reflected the world around us, that is blooming with thousands of different flowers, in which children are its scents.”
Peter Kalu from Commonword – a writing development organization based In Manchester – who encouraged Tariq to enter the award, congratulated the winner and stepped forward to collect a cheque for £1500. Tariq also wins a full editorial consultation with leading literary agent Caroline Sheldon.
Author Alex Wheatle MBE, one of the judges, also beamed in a message of encouragement to the short-listed writers. Then, John Nicoll congratulated the writers letting them know that the judges were very impressed with the stand of the entries. He presented Swapna Haddow with a cheque for £200 for being Highly Commended for her story Samosa Girl and Jude Ensaff was Commended and received £100 for her story One of a Kind.