Diran is an acclaimed novelist, short fiction writer and cultural critic best known for his vivid, picaresque takes on modern Britain, and his distinctive style. His debut novel, Some Kind of Black, was one of the first to articulate a British-African perspective, and was hailed as breaking new ground for the ‘London novel’. It won him numerous awards, including the Writers Guild of Great Britain’s New Writer of the Year Award, the 1996 Saga Prize, a Betty Trask Award, and The Authors’ Club’s ‘Best First Novel’ award. It was also long listed for the Booker Prize, serialised on radio and is now a Virago Modern Classic.
His second novel, My Once Upon a Time, a dazzling slice of neo-noir set in a re-imagined city, was also widely acclaimed, and solidified his reputation as a groundbreaker. He co-edited New Writing 12, the British Council’s annual anthology of British and Commonwealth literature, with Blake Morrison and Jane Rogers, and has recently edited Secrets, a schools fiction anthology for the ‘First Story’ charity. Diran has also written for television and radio, including the 2005 documentary Out of Africa for BBC2. As a critic, he’s written extensively in the national press and appeared as a guest on shows such as Newsnight, The Culture Show, This Week and The Today Programme, discussing everything from sport and race to politics and popular culture. Diran, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, is currently writing his third novel, The Ballad of Dizzy and Miss P’, and a sports-themed ‘memoir’.
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Prof Michael Reiss, Director of Education, Royal Society