GRIFFIN Books in Penarth has chosen to take part in the 2021 Jhalak Prize National Book Token initiative. 

To mark their fifth anniversary, Jhalak Prize have announced a new initiative supported by National Book Tokens whereby 12 independent bookshops will serve as Jhalak Prize Bookshop Champions to celebrate one of the 12 titles shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour and the inaugural Jhalak Children’s and Young Adult Prize.

The participating bookshops are: Pages of Hackney (East London), Griffin Books (Wales), Mostly Books (Abingdon), Newham Bookshop (East London), October Books (Southampton), Lighthouse Books (Edinburgh), Round Table Books (Brixton, South London), Five Leaves Bookshop (Nottingham), Storysmith (Bristol), The Hastings Bookshop (Sussex), La Biblioteka (Sheffield) and Children’s Bookshop (North London). 

Each shop will champion their title instore and online with bespoke activities such as events, displays, social outreach, online content such as videos and author Q&As.

Mel Griffin said: "We are delighted to be associated with the Jhalak Prize, which showcases the writing of British/UK resident authors of colour, historically under-represented in the publishing industry.

"All the shortlisted titles are available from us, and we are pleased to be championing one of the titles in particular, 'Inferno' by Catherine Cho. This powerful account of the author's experience of post-natal psychosis is both moving and harrowing, yet ultimately full of hope."

Their locations vary from busy city centres to local high streets and places where bookshops might not traditionally be found, such as food courts and markets - with Griffin Books located in Windsor Arcade. 


What all of the shops have in common is a mission to be friendly, welcoming and inclusive spaces at the heart of the local communities they serve and a passion for supporting marginalised voices and creating a readership for their books.

Below is a list of Jhalak Prize shortlisted titles and the bookshops who will champion them.

Six books were selected for each Prize with poetry, memoir, young adult fiction and picture books represented in fearless explorations of character and self, using history, folklore, Covid-19, mental health and sexuality as inspiration.

Each of the shortlist titles was praised for ‘courageously shining a light on aspects of human experience that often remain hidden.’

The Jhalak Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour 2021 Shortlist and Bookshop Champion:

  • Antiemetic for Homesickness, Romalyn Ante (Chatto Poetry) – Pages of Hackney
  • Inferno, Catherine Cho (Bloomsbury Circus) – Griffin Book
  • My Darling From the Lions, Rachel Long (Picador Poetry) – Mostly Books, Abingdon
  • The First Woman, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Oneworld)- Newham Books
  • Are We Home Yet, Katy Massey (Jacaranda) – October Books, Southampton
  • Rainbow Milk, Paul Mendez (Dialogue) – Lighthouse Books, Edinburgh