A collective voice for literature and languages in Scotland

New Kavya Prize seeks to celebrate Scotland’s BIPOC writers

A new Scottish literary prize has been launched today (Mon 10 Jan 2022) aimed at celebrating published work and new writing by Scotland’s ethnically diverse communities.

The Kavya Prize, in association with the University of Glasgow, seeks to encourage Scottish black, indigenous, and people of colour writers – either living in Scotland or abroad.

The inaugural prize for full-length published works of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry or short story collections will be awarded in May 2022 and is worth £1000.

Kavya is a popular and well recognised word in Sanskrit and refers to a literary style or a completed body of literature that was used in Indian courts of the Maharajahs who nurtured the cultural arts in India.

The prize is the brainchild of Indian-born Scottish author Leela Soma, who said: “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 in 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.”

Dr Zoe Strachan, a Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, said: “Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow strives to encourage a community of writers and readers that reaches far beyond our cohort and alumni.

“We are honoured that Leela approached us about the Kavya Prize, and hope that it will become an important and treasured part of the Scottish literary scene as well as an aspiration for our talented students and graduates.

“We look forward to developing more opportunities for new writers in association with the enthusiastic supporters of the prize – and, of course, to seeing who will be on the shortlist in 2022!”

The judging panel for the Kavya Prize will be:

  • Professor Bashabi Fraser, CBE, Scottish-Indian  poet, children’s writer, critic and academic
  • Tawona Sithole, a Zimbabwean-born writer, poet, musician and performer who now lives in Scotland and is an Artist in Residence at the University of Glasgow.
  • Leila Aboulela, a fiction writer of Sudanese origin who now lives in Scotland.

For more information contact Aine Allardyce in the University of Glasgow Communications and Public Affairs Office on 07976 201938 or email aine.allardyce@glasgow.ac.uk or media@glasgow.ac.uk

Kavya Prize Submissions

Publishers may submit full length novels, works of creative non-fiction and poetry collections first published in the United Kingdom between 1 December 2020 and 31 December 2021.

The prize is open to Black, Indigenous, and People Of Colour (BIPOC) writers who are Scottish writers either resident or non-resident in Scotland which includes Scots by birth, upbringing or inclination.

Submissions can be made to the Kavya Prize to Danielle Schwertner, the Prize’s administrator on danielle.schwertner@glasgow.ac.uk

About Leela Soma

Leela Soma is a Scottish-based writer who was born in India, and now lives in Glasgow. She writes novels, poetry and short stories which have been published in several anthologies and publications. Learn more about Leela Soma.

About Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow’s Creative Writing postgraduate taught, and research-led writing courses are among the most challenging and popular in Britain. They have helped launch the career of a number of successful writers. Learn more about  Creative Writing at UofG.

Reproduced from the original press release from University of Glasgow (contact details above).


January 10, 2022

Obituary: Professor Douglas Gifford

We are saddened to hear of the passing of Professor Douglas Gifford who died peacefully at the age of 79 on 28 June 2020. Our sincere condolences to his family.

Douglas Gifford, as his friend and former colleague Allan Riach wrote in The Herald “was one of Glasgow University’s most distinguished Professors, a teacher of Scottish Literature who was an inspiration for generations of students over almost half a century, and a figure of crucial significance in modern Scotland.

“He was a path-breaking literary critic, editor and historian whose lasting influence continues to yield ever-widening benefits and whose memory is held in great affection by innumerable friends, colleagues and former students.”

With an encyclopedic knowledge, he edited and co-edited major works on Scottish Literature and published on James Hogg, Neil Gunn and Lewis Grassic Gibbon.

A tireless supporter of Scottish writing and publishing, Douglas Gifford was involved with various activities with the Saltire Society and their Saltire Literary Awards, he was a Chair of the Scottish Literature Forum (from which LAS evolved), the Faculty of Advocates Honorary Librarian for Walter Scott’s Library at Abbotsford and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

“With typical flair and commitment, he participated in Edinburgh summer schools, extra-mural classes, international conferences, professional development courses for school-teachers, in the Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS) symposia.”

His contribution to the Scottish Literature Forum was valued for the knowledge and insights he brought from the academic world and the international community of Scottish Literature scholars, as well as his genial chairmanship and sense of humour.

Read the full obituary written by Professor Riach, which appeared in The Herald on Fri 3 July 2020: A path-breaking academic who re-defined the world of modern Scottish Literature. 


July 7, 2020