Women’s Prize to Clarify Policy Around Gender Criteria After Non-Binary Nomination

By April 4, 2019 Literary Awards, News

The Women’s Prize for Fiction has said that it is working on and to clarify its policy around gender fluid, transgender, and non-binary writers after featuring non-binary author Akwaeke Emezi on its latest longlist for their novel Freshwater.

Chair of Trustees Joanna Prior was keen to stress that the Trust was comfortable that all sixteen authors on this year’s longlist were eligible but noted the need to clarify the criteria for the future.

Prior stated to the Bookseller this week that “Like many organisations, the Women’s Prize Trust is now working to formulate a policy around gender fluid/transgender/ transgender non-binary writers to provide clarity for the Prize in the future.”

Emezi is the first non-binary trans person to be nominated for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in the prize’s history and is nominated for their debut novel, Freshwater. After the nomination a number of media outlets focused on the author’s gender and background with The Times newspaper in the UK running a piece about Emezi and questioning the criteria for the prize. The report in the Times stated that Emezi had criticised the jury after one of the judges wrote in The Guardian newspaper that the author had identified as a woman, however, Faber’s editorial director Louisa Joyner has said that is not the case.

In an interview with Brittlepaper, Emezi confirmed that rather than being a man in a woman’s body, they feel like neither and had their uterus removed five years ago.

Joyner shared an open letter to the Times stating “The Women’s Prize set out to directly address gender bias and has done so with genuine political and cultural force to give a platform (and a microphone) to those who, prior to its foundation, were hugely under-represented in a mainstream media that failed to identify its own gender bias. What could be more in keeping with this than for the Women’s Prize to accept a submission from a novelist who self-identifies in a way that rejects normative gender paradigms? The claim that Emezi identified as a woman at the time of the novel’s publication, as referenced in the [Times] article, is false.”

One of the judges, Professor Kate Williams previously told the Guardian that the judges were not aware of Emezi’s gender identity when they selected Freshwater but they did check that Emezi was happy to be longlisted before they made the announcement.

Freshwater is Emezi’s debut novel, and is fairly new to the literary scene. The author was born in Umuahia and raised in Aba, Nigeria. Emezi is also a video artist and received an MPA from New York University and won the 2015 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship as well as the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa.

The Pulitzer Prize for Literature Winners 2019

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The Pulitzer Prize is less a literature prize and more a prize for the arts, awarding prizes for literature, drama, music, and journalism. As readers, we are of course interested in the literature prizes and as the Pulitzer Prize winners were announced last night, we have those for you now.

The main literature prize this year goes to Richard Powers for his novel, The Overstory, described as “an ingeniously structured narrative that branches and canopies like the trees at the core of the story whose wonder and connectivity echo those of the humans living amongst them.”

Here’s that and the other Pulitzer Prize winners for literature 2019.
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The Man Booker International Shortlist 2019

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In 2004 Man Booker introduced the Man Book International Prize to complement the original prize. Sponsored by the Man group (though this is Man’s final year), the award was given out every two years to a living author of any nationality for a body of work published in English or available in English translation. In 2016, the prize was updated and is now handed out yearly with a £50,000 prize, traditionally shared equally between author and translator.

This week, the 2019 Man Booker International Shortlist was announced and we have those six books here for you now.

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And the Winner of the Stella Prize 2019 is…

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The Stella Prize is a major literary award celebrating female authors in Australia. The prize is named after one of Australia’s most iconic female authors, Stella Maria Sarah ‘Miles’ Franklin and was first awarded in 2013, to grow and become one of the most respected women’s prizes around.

The award seeks to recognise and celebrate Australian women’s writer’s contribution to literature, bring more readers to books by woman, equip young readers with the skills to question gender disparities and challenge stereotypes in publishing. Each year one female writer receives a $50,000 prize and the 2019 winner has been announced.

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Shortlist for Oscar’s Book Prize Announced

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Oscar’s Book Prize is a literary award recognising excellence in children’s books for the under fives. The award is in its sixth year and was created in honour of Oscar Ashton, who passed away in 2012, aged three and a half from an undetected heart condition.

The award is supported by Amazon, and the National Literacy Trust and searches for the best children’s stories that Oscar would have loved. This year’s winner will be announced on 9th May but the shortlist for the 2019 prize has just been announced and we have that for you here.
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Shortlist for the Centenary James Tait Black Awards Announced

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The James Tait Black Prize is the longest running literary prize in the UK and 2019 marks its centenary year. The Prizes have been presented every year since 1919 and the prize has survived two World Wars, evolving technology, and changing reading habits to become one of the UK’s most illustrious literary awards.

The prize was created in 1918 when Janet Tait Black née Coats, part of the renowned threadmaking family J & P Coats, made provision in her will for the creation of two book prizes, to be awarded annually in memory to her husband, James Tait Black. Read More

Nobel Prize for Literature to be Awarded Twice in 2019

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Amidst a huge sexual scandal, the Nobel Prize for Literature 2018 was cancelled, the first time this has happened since the 1940s. French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, who is married to a former member of the institution was accused of sexual misconduct and was eventually convicted of rape, causing the Academy to collapse from within.

On the two previous occasions the prize has been cancelled, a double award has been issues on the following year, and now that the Nobel Academy has reformed after the scandal it’s announced that there will be two Nobel Prizes for Literature awarded this year.
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