Our Department of English Studies is celebrating the phenomenal success of two of its own - Sunjeev Sahota and Kayo Chingonyi - following the recognition their work has received from the Booker Prize and the Forward Prize for Poetry respectively.
Sunjeev Sahota’s China Room has been longlisted for the Booker Prize and Kayo Chingonyi’s collection of poetry A Blood Condition has been shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Poetry for the Best Collection 2021.
Sunjeev Sahota’s China Room is his third published novel. A previous work The Year of the Runaways also received significant acclaim and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015. Sunjeev is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English Studies where he teaches Creative Writing.
China Room is a heart-wrenching tale which follows characters across generations and continents, juggling questions of love, debt, and what it means to build a home.
The shortlist for the Booker Prize will be announced on 14 September.
Kayo has worked in Durham’s English Department since 2018 as Assistant Professor, teaching Creative Writing.
Kayo moved to the UK from Zambia at the age of six, losing both his parents in childhood. This absence resonates throughout his meditative, lyrical collection of poems in A Blood Condition. Newcastle was his first destination on arriving in the UK and many of the poems in A Blood Condition focus Kayo’s’s deft eye for place in the North East of England.
The Forward Prize for Poetry is one of the most influential awards for new poetry in the UK and Ireland, recognising fresh voices alongside internationally established names. The winners will be announced later this autumn.
We wish Kayo and Sunjeev, and their two outstanding works, the best of luck in the awards later this year.