Folio Academy Highlights Literary Gems of the Past

In What's the Buzz by Hannah Johnson

By Hannah Johnson

the balloonist macdonald harrisMany book prizes and literary awards honor recently published titles, but the UK’s Folio Prize has come up with a way to highlight titles from the past as well.

Starting this week, the Folio Prize — the £40,000 prize for fiction published in the UK — taps into its distinguished Academy of writers and critics to bring attention to “books that could have been worthy winners of the Folio Prize had it existed in the past.”

Every day, from July 8 to 16 (when the panel of judges for the 2014 Folio Prize will be announced), a member of the Academy will present their chosen title and why it should have won the Prize. You can follow the selections online at From the Academy.

The first two titles have already been featured on the website.

On Monday, Philip Pullman chose The Ballonist by MacDonald Harris. “Steampunk crossed with Proust, almost. Ironic, funny, tragic, sexy, and written in the most beautifully intelligent prose. Well worth a prize,” wrote Pullman.

party going henry greenTuesday, A.L. Kennedy selected Party Going by Henry Green: “Its evocation of a fog-locked pre-war London is crackling with atmosphere, at once deeply real and deeply dreamed, disturbing.”

Suzy Lucas, Administrator, The Folio Prize, said: “One of the chief ambitions of The Folio Prize is to give people the opportunity to find great books that might otherwise lie unread. Our Academicians’ choices do exactly that — they date from 179 A.D. to the present day and take in all manner of forms, styles and preoccupations. We challenge anyone not to want to read them all whether they be undiscovered or simply worth rediscovering.”

About the Author

Hannah Johnson


Hannah Johnson is the publisher of international book industry magazine Publishing Perspectives, which provides daily information and news about book markets around the world. In addition to building partnerships with international cultural and trade organizations, she works with the Frankfurt Book Fair to organize and support a number of its overseas initiatives. Hannah has also worked as the managing editor for an online media company, The Hooch Life, focused on craft distillers and cocktail experts. Prior to that, she worked as a project manager for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s New York office, managing various business and marketing activities.