The Portico Prize for Literature is so esteemed it’s dubbed the “Booker Prize of the North”, but the entire award is under threat with the news that it will not be presented this year.
The Zochonis Charitable Trust has long supported the prize putting up the £10,000 prize money for the fiction and nonfiction categories. However, philanthropist Sir John Zochonis sadly passed away last year and now the trust says it cannot extend its ongoing support to the awards.
The prize was established at the Portico Library in Manchester and has been presented every two years since 1985. Past winners include Clockwork Orange’s Anthony Burgess, and crime writer Val McDermid, and the prize celebrates the North’s strong literary identity.
The Portico Library is now desperately looking for a new sponsor to replace the Zochonis Trust as without it, the prize will not be reinstated.
The Portico Prize isn’t the only award looking for a new sponsor either, this week the Bailey’s Women’s Prize announced that it was looking for a new commercial partner as the drinks brand announced it was ending its sponsorship.
We hope that both prizes will find new sponsors, as both have in the past thrown up some fantastic winners. Readers look to these awards for recommendations and they keep the literary market buoyant. This news is quite a blow for the literary world in a year where generally the news for books has been pretty positive.