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Akala shortlisted for prestigious literary prize


ACCLAIMED RAPPER and author Akala has been featured on the shortlist for the James Tait Black Prizes.

The prestigious prize is the UK’s oldest book awards, and other contenders include
Will Eaves, Jessie Greengrass, Olivia Laing and Nafissa Thompson-Spires.

“Growing up I was lucky enough to be a beneficiary of the Pan-African 'Saturday school' movement where I learned very early that there were countless examples of human brilliance and achievement that fell outside of mainstream historiography," said Akala.

"Thus I am extremely excited to be working on a collection of books for young people that focus on lesser known examples of human achievement from all around the world throughout all of history.”

Akala’s debut book Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire explores issues around race and class, and the rise and fall of empires throughout history, human evolution and numerous additional elements.

The winner of the prize will be announced at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August. The centenary celebrations will be attended by some of the previous winning authors.

Speaking on the shortlist, judge Dr Simon Cooke said: “In searching, eloquent, and formally inventive explorations of their subjects, these four books ask questions about the way all of us live our lives. I’m delighted that this year’s shortlist shows the reach and vitality of biographical writing in the centenary year of the James Tait Black.”

Fellow judge Dr Alex Lawrie added: “These four books are stylish, witty, and experimental. I'm thrilled that in this centenary year our shortlist reflects the very best that fiction can offer.”

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