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Former student Jade Cuttle wins Non-Fiction Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour

Former York College student Jade Cuttle has become the inaugural winner of The Non-Fiction Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour.

The award, presented by London-based Further Education institute Morley College, celebrates Black History Month, with Jade recognised for her “stunning, original, genre-bending” nature book Silthood.

She also received £500 and will now go on to engage in an individual editorial consultation with an agent regarding her book, the research for which saw her sleep in jungles and on mountain sides!

Having previously been a pupil at Barlby High School, A Level student Jade left College in 2013 with an A* in English Literature, two A grades in French and English Language and a B in Maths.

She also received an A* for her Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).

Jade went on to graduate from the University of Cambridge’s Homerton College with first-class honours in French and Russian, before working abroad as a travel writer.

Returning to the UK to complete a Master’s in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, she graduated with distinction and a focus on ecopoetics - poetry with a strong ecological emphasis or message.

Morley Prize Winners
Jade (second from the left) pictured with (from left-to-right) Prize judge Marianne Tatepo, Fiction Prize winner Joseph Diwakar and Prize sponsor Rachel Mills

Since then, Jade has worked for The Poetry Society, based in Covent Garden, and judged numerous competitions including the Costa Book Awards and the Ginkgo Prize – the world’s biggest ecopoetry competition in the world – with co-judge Simon Armitage, the current Poet Laureate.

An award-winning reviewer, Jade has had work published in The Guardian, The Observer, The Telegraph and The Times Literary Supplement.

She had also been employed as The Times’ Arts Commissioning Editor for three years before leaving to focus on the research for and writing of her book.

On the recognition she has received from Morley College London, Jade said: “It's fantastic to be the inaugural winner of the prize. I left a great job at The Times to travel and write this strange muddy nature book about my search for ‘silthood’, tracing the ancient kinlines between soil and self.

“I’ve slept in jungles, mountains, even my garden shed, and immersed myself in mudlarking, medieval re-enacting, and metal detecting. I'm excited now more than ever to find the agent and publisher to bring this book into the world.”

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Judge Marianne Tatepo (pictured right) described Jade's book as "stunning, original and genre-bending"

Prize judge Marianne Tatepo, Commissioning Editor for Ebury Press and Pop Press (Penguin Random House UK), added: “We stepped into the world of Silthood, where nature comes to life in an almost anthropomorphic way. It’s a stunning, original, genre-bending entry in the non-fiction category.”

Jade has also produced a critically acclaimed album of poem-songs called Algal Bloom, which aims to break down boundaries between spoken word, music and sound art, while sparking an urgently required discussion around our fraying connection to nature.

Her poetry, meanwhile, has been broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and BBC Proms and, for the BBC’s Contains Strong Language Festival, she was commissioned to celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary through a series of song and spoken-word specials.

In addition to performing widely at literature and music festivals, she also leads workshops and tutors students at The Poetry School – the UK’s largest provider of poetry education.

The Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour was founded by Morley College London and the Rachel Morley Literary Agency in 2021, and is designed to nurture and provide opportunities for aspiring writers, promote diversity across the broader literary landscape of Britain and continue Morley’s long history of educational excellence, community engagement and support for social justice.

This year, the Prize was expanded into two independent categories: the previously established Fiction category being joined by Life Writing and Creative Non-Fiction (won for the first time by Jade).

You can learn more about Jade’s work and career here