Leela Soma, whose novel Murder at the Mela was published by Ringwood in 2020 has been labouring hard alongside the Creative Writing Course at Glasgow University to create The Kavya Prize, an award which seeks to encourage writers from Scotland’s black, indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) community. This inaugural award, which grants the recipient £1000 prize and a residency at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s National Writing Centre, is an important step towards a diversified and inclusive publishing industry that allows marginalised voices to be heard and celebrated. We at Ringwood, are extremely proud of Leela, she is a major credit to us and the BIPOC community.

The Kavya Prize in Scotland seeks to encourage diverse voices and shift the gaze of the literary scene from decades of the ‘norm’ to become more inclusive. The need for recognising diverse voices in a multicultural Scotland is long overdue.To reflect our rainbow nation our books will encourage the young ‘new Scots’ to access, participate and contribute to mainstream Scottish literature. Starting this Prize in the Year of Stories Scotland 2022 is an important milestone for writers of colour.” Leela Soma

On the 21st May, her hard work came to fruition in a packed event as part of the Aye Write Festival when Leela presented the 2022 prize to the playwright Uma Nada-Rajah who is based in Kirknewton and is of Sri Lankan Tamil heritage. Of the winning entry Toy Plastic Chicken, Leela Soma said it was “hard hitting, powerful and humorous, a difficult blend to achieve. She is a worthy winner.”

Congratulations to Uma Nada-Rajah and to Leela Soma for their hard work and contribution to Scottish literature!

The 2023 Kavya Prize will be restricted to previously unpublished writers and will no doubt introduce another exciting new edition to Scotland’s literary compendium. We are excited to see which talented new writers the award will attract and look forward to working with them in the future!