When We Were Birds by UEA alumna and current student Ayanna Lloyd Banwo has been named a winner of the 44th annual Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award, an award created to provide recognition of outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. Ayanna (pictured) is from Trinidad and graduated from the University of the West Indies before gaining an MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction) at UEA in 2018. She is currently completing her PhD in Creative & Critical Writing. When We Were Birds was published by Hamish Hamilton last year and won the Overall and Fiction prizes in the 2023 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature and the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award. It was also shortlisted for the Kitschies Golden Tentacle Award and the Goldsboro Glass Bell Award. Ayanna was also announced last year as one of the two winners of the Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writer’s Award.