Back in August it was announced that a New Academy had been created to award an alternative Nobel Prize for Literature after the Swedish Academy was caught in a mire of controversy amid a rape scandal. The New Academy was put together by more than a hundred important cultural figures, journalists, writers and authors to honour literary greats with a new prize.
In August four authors were shortlisted, Haruki Murakami of Japan, who soon withdrew himself from the competition, Vietnamese-Canadian writer Kim Thúy; Maryse Condé of Guadeloupe; and British author Neil Gaiman who is based in the USA.
It was announced that on 12th October the winner would be announced and now it’s announced that Maryse Conde will collect the alternative Nobel Prize in an award ceremony in December.
Conde is one of the Caribbean’s most renowned authors and said she was ‘very happy and proud’ to win the alternative prize. The author will win around £87,000 raised from crowdfunding and donations and will receive the prize at a ceremony on 9th December. Conde has written more than twenty novels and this prize is likely to raise her exposure further. Below we have listed Maryse Conde’s most notable works.
The Bookseller reports that in all, forty-eight bookshops are competing, from nine regions of the UK and are all hoping to win in their local area before going forward to compete for the overall, nationwide prize.
Here are the shortlisted books for each region. We have some of the bookshops listed in our bookshop section so the ones featured are linked:
Behrouz Boochani is a failed asylum seeker from Iran who has been held on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea for almost six years. The place doesn’t get much coverage for an offshore detention centre that holds failed refugees indefinitely, and maybe it should but all that might be about to change as Boochani’s book is about his time on the island and his attempted journey to safety.
This year’s winners have been announced by Poets & Writers, and the well-deserving recipients of the 2019 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award are:
Reginald Dwayne Betts – “for mentoring individuals involved in the criminal and juvenile justice systems and for his efforts to reform these systems.”
Reginald Dwayne Betts writes memoirs and poetry. His most recent collection of poetry, Bastards of the Reagan Era, won the 2016 PEN New England Award in Poetry. While his memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival and Coming of Age in Prison, is just the beginning of his campaigning to reform the criminal justice system in the UK. He has also made numerous visits to prisons and juvenile detention centres, where he shares his poetry and talks about the power of reading, literacy and mentoring those in incarceration.