Udupi: Kallianpur origin Renita D’Silva winner of Joffe Books Prize 2023

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Udupi, 08 Dec 2023: Joffe Books is thrilled to announce the winner of the Joffe Books Prize 2023: Renita D’Silva, for her compelling psychological thriller, The Neighbour.


The Joffe Books Prize for Crime Writers of Colour was established in direct response to the paucity of diverse voices being published in crime fiction. Its explicit aim is to actively seek out writers from communities that are underrepresented in our genre and support them in building sustainable careers, while simultaneously discovering brilliant new talent to join our bestselling list.


Since its launch in 2021, the Joffe Books Prize has been enthusiastically received. This year, submissions included gritty climate thrillers and wrenching domestic suspense, pharmaceutical thrillers to cyberpunk detective mysteries.



The judges, including bestselling author Nadine Matheson, literary agent Nelle Andrew and Joffe Books editorial director Emma Grundy Haigh, considered each manuscript in terms of both the strength of the writing and marketability. The judges unanimously awarded the Joffe Books Prize 2023 to Renita D’Silva.


From the judges: “A wide ranging, ambitious cast of characters and stories that interlock but don’t overwhelm. It’s varied and interesting and above all controlled and the clear stand-out in terms of both what it promised and what it was aiming to achieve. I really wanted to know about Gemma, Sapna and Edith and above all I cared about what would happen to them and why. The slow boil of discovering each woman’s past while the present unfolded, the complex relationships and the hidden histories: it was a joy.”


Renita D’Silva fell in love with stories at the age of six when her father presented her with her very first story books: Andersen and Grimm Fairy Tales. She’s published ten historical fiction novels, the most recent of which is The War Child. Her short stories have been published various magazines and anthologies, and been nominated for the Pushcart prize, shortlisted for the LoveReading Very Short Story award and longlisted for the BBC National Short Story award. The Neighbour is her first psychological thriller.


Renita says: “I’m beyond thrilled to win the Joffe Books Prize 2023 and very excited to be signing with Joffe. I feel humbled and privileged to have such a brilliant team backing my books and to be joining such an amazingly talented cohort of writers.”


Emma Grundy Haigh says: “It’s a privilege to have been able to read so many submissions with such fantastic potential, but it was Renita’s brilliant domestic thriller that shone out to me straightaway. It’s immediately hooky, with a breath-taking opening scene. Renita’s forte is in her strong, relatable, well-drawn characters and that delicate prose which effortlessly carries the tension through a web of secrets, lies and betrayal.”


Synopsis: “Newlyweds Amir and Sapna move into an all-white, middle-class neighbourhood on the edge of a bustling town. Their arrival causes a flutter of disquiet among the residents of the quiet cul-de-sac, exposing long-held secrets and upending the fragile harmony that binds them.”




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