Pluto Press Launches Walter Rodney Prize for African & Caribbean Non-Fiction

The £4,000 initiative, for women and non-binary debut authors influenced by Walter Rodney, comes with publication.
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Walter Rodney. From Walter Rodney Papers, Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library Archives.

Photo Credit: Walter Rodney. From Walter Rodney Papers, Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library Archives.

Pluto Press is partnering with the Walter Rodney Foundation (WRF) and the Pluto Educational Trust (PET) to launch the Walter Rodney Writing Prize, an annual non-fiction award for African and Caribbean women and non-binary debut authors. The winner will receive a £4,000 writing grant, get access to Pluto, PET, and WRF’s combined global network of contacts, and their book will be published by Pluto Press. 

According to Pluto Press, “the prize intends to celebrate the life and work of Guyanese writer and political activist Walter Rodney, while reflecting and advancing the impact of Rodney’s thinking on scholars and organisers.”

Submissions should comprise a proposal and sample writing. Writers are to demonstrate the influence of Rodney’s ideas on their own work.

“Pluto, PET and WRF share a rigorous commitment to internationalist politics, so this collaboration is an excellent fit,” said Neda Tehrani, an editor at Pluto Press. “Walter Rodney was a giant of the anticolonial movement. We are very excited to see the writing that emerges from this and are delighted to be working towards the broader aim of platforming more voices from the Global South—and most importantly, to be providing the support that enables these writers to be published in the first place. We also know that women and non-binary people in particular still face many barriers to the world of non-fiction publishing.” 

PET trustee Fiona Dove commented: “With this annual prize, we hope to support yet-to-be-published writers in the tradition of Rodney who, in turn, will inspire others to put their knowledge in the service of radical praxis.”

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Members of the Walter Rodney Foundation and family, Pat, Asha, and Shaka, said: “We share the united vision of working towards the inclusion of all people of Africa and the Caribbean in global conversations and to explore and support platforms for these voices to be heard. We envision that this WRF-Pluto Press-PET collaboration will serve as a model for future activities, and we are excited to build a long lasting partnership and legacy through literary works.”

Submissions are open from 23 March to 23 August (11.59pm GMT).

The longlist will be released on 1 October, and the shortlist on 15 November.

A panel of judges assessing the shortlist will be announced soon.

The winner of the prize will be announced in 2022, at an online ceremony.

See submission guidelines here.

Paula Willie-Okafor
Paula Willie-Okafor
Paula Willie-Okafor is a staff writer at Open Country Mag. She is a student at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where she is custodian of The Writers' Community (TWC). Her writing has appeared in Kissing Dynamite Magazine and Praxis Magazine.

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