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.

Women’s Prize for Fiction: First Chapter Winner Announced

By | Literary Awards, News | No Comments
Last month, we reported the news that the Women’s Prize for Fiction competition had begun and that budding female writers had the chance to get the spotlight shining on their work, as well as it being exposed to some of the biggest names in literature. Yesterday, the winner of the prestigious award was announced. Read More

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel Shortlist is Here

By | Literary Awards, News | No Comments
Theakston Brewery sponsor the Old Peculier Crime Festival, which takes place in Harrogate every year. The festival comes along with a prize, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel and the 2019 shortlist for this prize has just been announced.

Theakston Old Peculier has been the title sponsor of the festival almost from the start back in 2006 and so the award is now in its thirteenth year. Crime remains one of the most popular literary genres, and so here are the six novels that have made the shortlist for 2019, giving you plenty to add to your TBR!

Read More

Grazia UK and Women’s Prize for Fiction Announces Annual ‘First Chapter’ Competition

By | Literary Awards, News | One Comment
Grazia UK has once again teamed up with the Women’s Prize for Fiction to host the annual First Chapter competition. This is the chance for female writers to kick-start their writing careers and to give their writing some exposure. Each year,  the compensation has a well known author write an opening paragraph of a story, and then it’s up to those who enter to write what happens next.

Read More

The Wilbur Smith Adventure Prize Shortlist is Announced

By | Literary Awards, News | No Comments
The Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation was created to celebrate the love of adventure writing. Named after and supported by the author, Wilbur Smith. Wilbur and Niso have travelled together through Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas and in every country have found storytellers weaving tales of adventure.

The Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation, created in 2015 opens a space for these writers, reaches out to them, and awards an annual prize for adventure writing. The shortlist for the Best Published Novel in adventure writing for 2019 has been released and we have that for you now!

Read More

The Winner of the Oscar’s Book Prize 2019 is Announced

By | Children's Literature, Literary Awards, News | No Comments
A few weeks ago we brought you the shortlist for Oscar’s Book Prize. The Prize is a literary award recognising excellence in children’s books for the under fives and this year is the sixth year for the award. The Oscar’s Book Prize was created in honour of Oscar Ashton who passed away in 2012 aged three and a half from an undetected heart condition and searches for stories that Oscar would have loved.

The prize has a royal patron in Princess Beatrice and it was she who awarded the winning author with the prize at a ceremony in the Mayfair Hotel in London this week. The prize is supported by Amazon and the National Literacy Trust. Read More

Leave a Reply