On Friday, we will be announcing the winner of the eight Christopher Al-Aswad Prize. The Christopher Al-Aswad Prize is awarded for outstanding contribution to breaking down barriers in literature and between literature and other arts. Chris Al-Aswad, who died in July 2010 aged just 31, was the genius behind Escape Into Life, a site that built thousands of artists and writers together into a community infused with his generosity, compassion, creativity and vision. It recognises individuals, projects, and organisations whose work to bring down barriers reflects his ideals.
Take a moment to look back over the shortlisted candidates and give them all the support they richly deserve.
#amwriting is a hashtag on twitter that brings together tousands of writers on twitter into a sharing, supportive, creative community. Its highly informal origins have grown, thanks to the passion, tirelessness, and selflessness of Johanna Harness, into a flourishing creative community.
And Other Stories is a new way of publishing, collectively owned by its partners who buy in to get a say in all things editorial. Its purpose, to bring previously untranslated fiction to our shelves, is wonderful, and the enthusiasm with which it is executed through live readings is inspirational
Public participation is everywhere at the moment, but this is the very best of all. Art House Co-operative sent out a moleskine to everyone who signed up, to fill as they pleased provided they mixed art and words, and return, to form a permanent exhibit at the Brooklyn Library. 778 people took up the challenge, creating an incredible archive in perpetuity.
Hip Hop Gives Back brings the hip hop community together, celebrating its culture, and giving back to the communities from which it sprung, empowering and changing them from within.
Sabina England is a writer, a playwright whose work has been performed on both side of the Atlantic, and a filmmaker behind the brilliant Velma Sabina YouTube show. She is also deaf, her videos entirely signed. She is also a Muslim. And a punk. All of which are integral to her work. She is an inspirational role model, but she is so much more than that.
sad red earth is a project set up by writer A Jay Adler, and photographer Julia Dean, who travel the States meticulously archiving a Native American culture in danger of being silenced and lost forever.