Established in 2017, the RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards support writers on their first commissioned works of non-fiction with 3 awards – one of £10,000, one of £5,000 and one of £2,500. The three recipients for 2022 are Nuzha Nuseibeh, Ellen Atlanta and Malachi McIntosh.
This year’s Awards were judged by: Homi K. Bhahba, Fiona St Aubyn and Violet Moller.
The winners are announced in a series of videos produced by illustrator and animator PeiHsin Cho. These feature recordings of the judges informing the winners of their Awards for the first time. All three will be available to watch on the RSL’s YouTube Channel on Thursday 15 December, 9am.
Our 2022 RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards winners are:
£10,000 – Nuzha Nuseibeh – Namesake (Canongate, 2023)
What is it to be a feminist, a mother, a warrior? What does bravery look like in the context of interminable conflict? By seeking to understand her namesake in the context of her own 21st century concerns, Nuseibeh connects our current ideas of Muslims and Arabs with their origins, looking at myth-making and identity, religion and nationhood, feminism and race, early Muslim history and contemporary Britain.
As intimate as they are thoughtful, these linked essays offer a dazzling exploration of heritage, gender and the idea of home, whilst also posing the larger question of how connecting with our history can help us understand ourselves and others today.
Nuzha Nuseibeh is a British-Palestinian doctoral student at Oxford University, born and raised in East Jerusalem. Her interests include issues around identity, ethics, inequality, and education. She has previously written for the Atlantic, and been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
£5,000 – Ellen Atlanta – Pixel Flesh: Modern Beauty Culture and The Women It Harms (Headline, Hachette, 2023)
Pixel Flesh is the first non-fiction book to explore Millennial and Gen-Z women’s relationship to beauty, and the systems and industries that seek to commodify and control our appearance. From ’Love Island’ to lip filler, mixed-fishing to the male gaze, Ellen holds digital beauty culture to account and highlights the unbelievable impact it has on women’s lives. Pixel Flesh provides an exploration of digital feminism through conversation and intimate observation, and represents a refusal to brush the issues facing young women under the carpet.
Ellen Atlanta is a writer and brand consultant who sits at the intersection of beauty, culture and feminism. She has worked for the likes of Estee Lauder, Flannels Beauty and UN Women UK, and was a founding editor of Dazed Beauty. Ellen has a masters with distinction in Creative Writing from the University of Cambridge.
£2,500 – Malachi McIntosh – A Revolutionary Consciousness: Black Britain, Black Power, and the Caribbean Artists Movement (Faber, 2025)
A Revolutionary Consciousness tells the story of the Caribbean Artists Movement (CAM) – a vanguard organisation that united a community of novelists, poets, artists, dancers, and activists in the face of growing hostility to Caribbean emigrants in 1960s and 70s Britain. At the book’s heart are CAM’s three founders: the publisher and activist John La Rose; the poet and historian Edward Kamau Brathwaite; and the writer, thinker, and impresario Andrew Salkey—a trio of pioneers who, through CAM, would radically transform the perceptions of their people.
Malachi McIntosh was born and lives in Birmingham, England, but spent his childhood in the United States. He is currently an Associate Professor of World Literatures in English at the University of Oxford and the Barbara Pym Tutorial Fellow in English at St. Hilda’s College. He writes fiction and nonfiction.