Somali-British Poet Momtaza Mehri Shortlisted for the 2024 Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award

Somali-British Poet Momtaza Mehri Shortlisted for the 2024 Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award

In a celebration of literary talent, Somali-British poet Momtaza Mehri has been shortlisted for the prestigious 2024 Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award. The recognition comes for her remarkable debut poetry collection titled “Bad Diaspora Poems.”

Founded in 1991 and sponsored by the Charlotte Aitken Trust since 2021, this esteemed award is bestowed annually upon the best work of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry by a British or Irish author aged 35 or under. The winner will receive a substantial prize of £10,000, while each shortlisted writer will be awarded £1,000.

Mehri’s inclusion in the shortlist places her among the most promising voices in contemporary literature. Previous recipients of this influential award include luminaries such as Zadie Smith and Caryl Phillips.

The distinguished panel of judges, chaired by Johanna Thomas-Corr, comprises a stellar lineup of literary luminaries, including Anne EnrightMendezJames McConnachieDaljit Nagra, and Catriona Ward. Their discerning eyes have identified four exceptional books that “believe in the possibility of change.” These writers, as described by judge James McConnachie, are “injecting real energy and vitality into the literary scene.”

Mehri’s debut collection, “Bad Diaspora Poems,” weaves together lyric, prose, and text messages, delving into themes of diaspora, migration, and the concept of home. The book has already garnered acclaim, winning both the Eric Gregory Award and the 2023 Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

Momtaza Mehri, an award-winning poet and essayist, previously held the title of Young People’s Poet Laureate for London and secured the 2019 Manchester Writing Prize. Her evocative writing has graced the pages of esteemed publications such as The GuardianPOETRYGrantaWasafiriBidoun, and The White Review.

Joining Mehri on the shortlist are fellow talented authors: Tom CreweMichael Magee, and Noreen Masud. The shadow panel of judges, comprising influential book bloggers, will independently deliberate and select their own winner ahead of the official announcement.

The much-anticipated award ceremony will take place at Canova Hall, Brixton on Tuesday, March 19, 2024. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Momtaza Mehri and wish her the best of luck in this literary journey.

Scroll to Top