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HomeUK & EuropeUKSufiyaan Salam, Blackburn Writer Wins Stormzy's Merky Books New Writers' Prize

Sufiyaan Salam, Blackburn Writer Wins Stormzy’s Merky Books New Writers’ Prize


Sufiyaan Salam, a talented writer from Blackburn, has clinched the prestigious Merky Books New Writers’ Prize, founded by renowned popstar Stormzy. His winning entry, “Wimmy Road Boyz,” captivated judges with its gripping narrative set against the backdrop of Manchester’s Curry Mile, Wilmslow Road.

The novel unfolds over the course of a single night, chronicling the escapades of three young men in their twenties as they navigate the complexities of life, love, and friendship. Little do they know that their reckless pursuit of excitement will culminate in a fateful reckoning.

Salam’s debut novel delves into themes of heartbreak, masculinity, friendship, faith, and class, offering a poignant reflection on contemporary urban life. Stormzy, the chart-topping musician, established the #Merky Books prize to unearth emerging literary talent among unpublished and under-represented writers aged 16 to 30 in the UK and Ireland.

The winner of the Merky Books prize secures a coveted publishing contract with Stormzy’s imprint, Merky Books, at Penguin Random House UK. Salam was bestowed with the prestigious award at a special ceremony held at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road in London.

Raised in Blackburn, Salam attended Cedar Street Primary School, Hawthorns Junior School, and Pleckgate High School before pursuing his higher education at Cardinal Newman College. He later graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Manchester.

Salam credits his upbringing and community support for nurturing his passion for writing. His father, Shakil Salam, an NHS worker and Urdu TV journalist covering various events across Lancashire, instilled in him a deep appreciation for storytelling and communication.

In a statement following his win, Salam expressed his gratitude and excitement for the opportunity to have his work published by Penguin. He praised the caliber of his fellow shortlisted writers and affirmed his commitment to producing compelling and thought-provoking literature.

Stormzy, elated by Salam’s victory, commended the quality of “Wimmy Road Boyz” and eagerly anticipated future works from the talented writer. Salam’s triumph serves as a testament to the power of storytelling and the enduring impact of platforms like Merky Books in championing diverse voices in literature.

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