By Alex Mutter
Women-only literary prizes were recently launched in both Australia and Canada, the Guardian reports.
In Australia, a AUS$50,000 award for the best fiction or non-fiction work written by a woman, called the Stella Prize, has been created, while in Canada the Rosalind Prize, for the best work of fiction by a female author, has been organized.
The name of the Australian prize refers to Stella Miles Franklin, an Australian novelist who created the Miles Franklin Award, the country’s largest literary prize, with an endowment from her estate. Although a female author, Anna Funder, won the Miles Franklin this year, the award had recently come under fire for being dominated by male authors, with no women making the shortlist twice in the span of three years.
Canada’s Rosalind Prize comes in the wake of an organization called Canadian Women in the Literary Arts reporting that although men and women publish nearly the same amount of books per year in Canada, the press disproportionately reviews books written by men. Interestingly enough, Canada previously had a prize for female writers – called the Marian Engel award, it was dissolved in 2008 due to a perceived “level playing field” for male and female writers in Canada. The organizers of the Rosalind Prize expect the first award to be given out in 2014.