I was not a fan of the 2011 Booker Prize and its judges’ quest for “readability,” which they defined as something that “zipped along.” It seemed everyday there was a new article criticizing the prize and the judges, and it all completely overshadowed the books. One of the responses was the inception of a new prize, then called simply The Literature Prize. Back in December, this prize announced it had a sponsor, and today they announced that the sponsor is the lovely Folio Society. The prize, which will be worth £40,000, will be The Folio Prize. You can click here to see their newly launched webpage.
The prize rules, which you can find here, say that this is “a global prize for fiction written in English; any work published in the UK in a given year is eligible, regardless of the author’s country of origin.” It is also exciting that the prize is open to fiction “regardless of form or genre,” meaning short stories are eligible, as are, I believe, graphic novels.
For me, perhaps the biggest surprise is that there is now a Folio Academy, made up of approximately 100 authors and critics who will nominate books. The top sixty books will be nominated for the prize. Five judges (no more than three of the same sex and only three from the UK) will be drawn by lots from the Academy. They will call in twenty additional books, for a total of 80. They will announce an eight-book shortlist and, finally, a winner.
The first winner will be announced in March 2014.