Monday, 5 October 2015

Literary Awards to Diversify Your Reading

A while back I wrote a post about why awards short and longlists are good for our reading during which I said that I liked how literary awards helped bring to my attention titles and authors I'd never previously heard of. This year I set myself goals (that I have spectacularly failed to achieve) for diversifying my reading, and following on from the idea of discovering the unknown I thought I'd write a post highlighting some literary awards that feature diversity.

Many of these are awards for translation, and so the experiences of the authors may not be a milliion miles away from my own, but they are still from another culture and country.

Image result for marsh award for children's literature in translationMarsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation

This award is given every two years for a translation of a work intended for young readers. It has been awarded since 1996 and past winners include Toby Alone by Timothee de Fombelle (trans. Sarah Ardizonne), Duel by David Grossman (trans. Betsy Rosenberg) and In The Sea There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda (trans. Howard Curtis).

Their website.

HomeSamuel Johnson Prize 

This is a prize for a non-fiction work in the English language and is awarded annually. It was founded in 2009 and the longlist for this year has just been announced and features, among others, The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq by Emma Sky which I talked about the other week in my post on Atlantic Books! Previous winners include Mao's Great Famine by Frank Dikotter, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick and The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale.

Their website.

Image result for international rubery book awardInternational Rubery Book Award

Given my current obsession with independent publishers it will hardly come as a shock that this award features here. It has been awarded yearly since 2011 to the best work of fiction and the best short story from an independent publisher or self published. As there have only been five winners I feel I can probably list them all here. They are: Jump Derry by Christine Donovan, The Restorer by Daniela Murphy, The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up by Jacob Appel, Flatlands by Victor Tapner and Don't Try This at Home by Angela Readman.

Their website
Image result for forward prizes for poetry
Forward Prizes for Poetry

Although these awards are really well known I know a lot of people, myself included, don't read much poetry so if you're looking to diversify into the genre this could be a good place to start. (another place I'd recommend is Jen Campbell's Youtube channel - you can find various of her poetry related videos here. She's a seriously well read lady!)

There are a lot of winners and not just the one prize. The Forward Arts Foundation also organizes World Poetry Day so rather than mention previous winners here I'll just direct you to their website. Go explore!

Manbooker official logoMan Booker International Prize

This award has just been reconfigured for next year. It used to be awarded every two years to an author of any nationality for a body of work that was written in English or generally available in English translation. Starting in 2016 it will be awarded annually to a book in English translation and the prize will be shared equally between the author and the translator.

Previous winners include Chinua Achebe (author of Things Fall Apart amongst other things), Alice Munro and Philip Roth.

Their website

These are just the British awards that I've found. Wikipedia has a whole huge page on literary awards throughout the world and although I would love to delve into them all I had to start somewhere! I'll probably do at least one more of these posts because although I'm sure none of us needs to, adding to your TBR is fun, right?

Let me know of any that you love that I've missed!

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