One of Stormzy‘s #Merky Books novels has won a £10,000 book award.
Derek Owusu’s That Reminds Me follows the life of a boy called K from foster care into moving in with his birth family in Tottenham.
The story mirrors that of the author’s, who grew up in foster care in Suffolk before moving in with his biological family in North London, and was later diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
It has won the Desmond Elliott Prize, which is given to the year’s best debut novel in the UK and Ireland.
“I’ve been an avid reader for so long and always follow prizes. When the email came through that I’d been longlisted, I was really blown away. I didn’t write this to get published, I wrote it for myself,” Owusu told the BBC.
— Buy It Black Owned (@buyitblackowned) June 26, 2020
Stormzy launched #Merky Books, his publishing imprint in conjunction with Penguin Random House in 2018.
At the time he wrote: “Super proud to announce our new venture #Merky Books, a publishing imprint in collaboration with Penguin Random House. We will be using this as a platform for young writers to become published authors.
“I know too many talented writers that don’t always have an outlet or a means to get their work seen and hopefully #Merky Books can be a reference point for them to say “I can be an author” and for that to be a realistic and achievable goal.”
Stormzy added that reading and writing when he was younger was “integral to where I am today.”
Meanwhile, the grime strar recently issued a statement of intent in the continued fight against racial inequality via his label #Merky in the wake of widespread Black Lives Matter protests around the world.
The grime star pledged to donate £10 million over 10 years to “organisations, charities and movements that are committed to fighting racial inequality, justice reform and Black empowerment within the UK”. He said that, despite the 10-year timeframe set out, this action will form part of a “lifetime commitment” to supporting these causes, both financially and otherwise.