By Dennis Abrams
Last year, a group of literati in the UK, dismayed with some of the populist picks for the shortlist of the Booker Prize, decided to launch their own book award. The result was the launch of The Literature Prize. Now, a year later, the The Folio Society was named today as the title sponsor for The Literature Prize, which will now be known as The Folio Prize.
The £40,000 prize will both recognize and celebrate the best English-language fiction from around the world, published in the United Kingdom in any given year regardless of form, genre, or the author’s country of origin. The first award will be given in March 2014.
The inaugural panel of judges will be announced in July of this year.
Details of The Folio Prize Academy were also released today. Made up of over 100 award-winning writers and critics from across the globe, the Academy will play a key role in the process by which books are selected and considered for the Prize each year.
Each year, a panel of five prospective judges will be drawn (by lots) from the Academy. The panel must include three members from the UK, and two members from outside the UK – and there must be no more than three members of the same gender.
Academicians (excluding judges) will be asked to nominate up to three books each year, and publishers will also be invited to submit applications for any additional novels that they feel have earned consideration. The judges will read a total of 80 books, from which a shortlist of eight titles will be announced in February 2014, with the announcement of the winner taking place in March.
Speaking on behalf of The Folio Society, Managing Director Toby Hartwell said, “The Folio Society has long been passionate about the publishing of classic literature in the most beautiful and desirable editions. With our sponsorship of The Folio Prize we seek to continue this tradition of excellence through recognizing new writing of enduring quality; books that will be read and treasured in a hundred years.”
Award-winning novelist Margaret Atwood agreed, saying that “The Folio Society pays loving and meticulous attention to the books they publish – their edition of The Handmaid’s Tale is now definitive. I’m sure The Folio Prize will be of equally high quality; much needed in a world in which money is increasingly becoming the measure of things.”
Philip Pullman added that “I think The Folio Prize will be a great addition to the current range of literary prizes. I have always admired the Folio Society’s dedication to the book as a physical object, and I think their generous sponsorship of this new prize is a recognition that while literature can become manifest in many different forms, the book – the codex – as at the heart of what we understand literature to be. I look forward to seeing the Folio Prize firmly established, and (of course) to reading the first shortlist and celebrating the first winner.”
The Folio Society will publish an illustrated special edition hardback of the winning title, “in due course,” each year.
To learn more about the award, click here.