Improving diversity: New writing prize for students

With research highlighting the need for more BAME books in the curriculum, Penguin has launched a new competition

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Improving diversity in the English curriculum: New writing competition for students to promote books by BAME authors

Penguin Books has joined forces with The Runnymede Trust to support schools in making the teaching and learning of English literature more inclusive by shining a light on barriers preventing more books by black, Asian and minority ethnic writers from being taught in the classroom.

The move comes after research published earlier this year found that only 1 per cent of GCSE students in England studied a book by an author of colour and only 7 per cent studied a book by a woman – of that 0.1 per cent being a book by a woman of colour. 

Improving diversity in English: The Creative Student Prize 

Responding to the research, Penguin Lit in Colour has also launched the inaugural Creative Student Prize, prompting young people to explore their relationship with books and literature.

The competition is open to all young people aged 14-18 across the UK and Ireland, and the prize invites applicants to respond creatively to the question: "What place do books have in your world?"

Keen to encourage students to channel their energy in a format that suits them, Lit in Colour is offering a variety of submission categories: essay, short story, poem, video, illustration and artwork. 

The prizes

In partnership with Adobe, the ultimate prize is a free MacBook Air, complete with a year-long subscription to Adobe suite. Runners-up will receive Beats by Dre headphones, and a Penguin audiobook package. Ten finalists will have their responses published on the Lit in Colour website.

The deadline is 17 September 2021 and Lit in Colour has created a resource pack for teachers interested in encouraging their students to participate before the end of term. For more information, visit the competition homepage.

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