The UK Society of Authors 2020 Shortlists: Winners on June 18

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Five of the Society of Authors-administered prize programs with a combined £100,000 at stake are to be awarded in digital programming next month.

London during the lockdown, Piccadilly circus 8pm – Light it blue for NHS moment.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Awards Include Writers Under 35 and Over 60
As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the UK’s Society of Authors—that market’s 11,000-member trade union and lead writer-advocacy organization—includes among its services the administration of a host of award programs.

Coming June 18, an online presentation will announce the winners of several of these competitions:

  • The Betty Trask
  • McKitterick Prize
  • ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Awards
  • The Paul Torday Memorial Prize
  • The Queen’s Knickers Award, in its inaugural cycle

The new announcement comprises 29 shortlisted writers, poets and illustrators. The winners among them will share in £100,000 (US$122,374) in prize money. On the run-up to the awards program, there’s to be a discussion of judging awards program content during the pandemic, and we’ll add information on when and how to see that digital program as soon as we have it.

At this writing, the 4:32 a.m. ET update (1032 GMT) of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reports that the UK market is fourth in the world for confirmed cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 infection with 249,619 cases and 35,786 deaths—the latter figure making the United Kingdom second only to the United States for fatalities.

In the June 18 announcement, viewers are to see short videos about winning and shortlisted writers. The organization has a series of free online events coming in June as part of what it terms its “SoA@Home festival.”

Society of Authors Awards 2020 May-June Shortlists

The Queen’s Knickers Award (inaugural year)

You may recall our story in July about the newly announced Queen’s Knickers Award, intended to highlight a strong illustrated work for kids. The honor is named after a book by the creator of this prize, author and illustrator Nicholas Allan. The Queen’s Knickers originally was published by Hutchinson in 1993 and came out in paperback from Penguin Random House/Red Fox in 2000.

Judged by Alexis Deacon, Emily Gravett and Korky Paul. Purse: £6,000 (US$7,341).

  • Umbrella written and illustrated by Elena Arevalo Melville
  • Mr Tiger, Betsy and the Sea Dragon written by Sally Gardner, illustrated by Nick Maland
  • How to Light Your Dragon written by Didier Lévy, illustrated by Fred Benaglia
  • One Fox written and illustrated by Kate Read
  • Child of St Kilda written and illustrated by Beth Waters

The ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award

The ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award is awarded for a short story by a writer who has had at least one short story accepted for publication.

Judged by Stuart Evers and  Michèle Roberts. Purse: £1,575 (US$1,927).

  • Ghillie’s Mum by Lynda Clark
  • High Water by Carol Farrelly
  • The Bird That Fluttered Free by Ani Kayode Somtochukwu
  • Whale Watching by Diana Powell
  • Eva at the End of the World by Wendy Riley
  • The Pier at Ardentinny by Catriona Ward

Betty Trask Prize and Awards

The Betty Trask Prize and Awards are presented for a first novel by a writer under 35.

Judged by Ben Brooks, Elanor Dymott and Vaseem Khan. Purse: £26,200 (US$30,822).

  • The Familiars by Stacey Halls
  • The Parisian by Isabella Hammad
  • Hitch by Kathryn Hind
  • The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu

McKitterick Prize

The McKitterick Prize is awarded for a first novel by a writer over 40.

Judged by Susan Hill, Abir Mukherjee and Christopher Tayler. Purse: £5,250 (US$6,422).

  • Golden Child by Claire Adam
  • Diary of a Somebody by Brian Bilston
  • Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins
  • Leonard and Hungry Paul by Rónán Hession
  • The Travelers by Regina Porter

Paul Torday Memorial Prize

The Paul Torday Memorial Prize is awarded to a first novel by a writer over 60. The prize includes a set of the collected works of British writer Paul Torday, who published his first novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen at the age of 60.

Judged by William Fiennes, Catherine Johnson and Sarah Waters. Purse: £1,000 (US$1,223).

  • The Burning Land by George Alagiah
  • Madeleine by Euan Cameron
  • Reparation by Gaby Koppel
  • Find Me Falling by Fiona Vigo Marshall
  • As the Women Lay Dreaming by Donald S Murray
  • The Stranger She Knew by Rosalind Stopps​

More from Publishing Perspectives on publishing and book awards is here, and more on the Society of Authors is here. More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here and at the CORONAVIRUS tab at the top of each page of our site.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.

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