Saturday, June 21, 2014

Read outside the box

I came across an interesting piece in the Guardian yesterday about a prize I hadn't heard of before. It's called the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize and it was developed to promote deserving and what you might call underrepresented British fiction. The author of the article is Matt Haig, who was also one of the judges (and, I might parenthetically add, the author of The Dead Father's Club, a modern take on Hamlet which I read enjoyed and rather summarily reviewed here a few years back). Haig articulates something about the current state of the book world which I increasingly felt during my sojourn in the book biz, but which I wouldn't have been able to state so well.

"Also, I don't think it is too controversial to point out that the market is increasingly being shaped by sales and marketing people, rather than editors and others who actually know what a good book is. So if a book does well, during the next two years you'll see many echoes of that book on the shelves. The once kaleidoscopic book world risks becoming 50 shades of safe. If you are writing a book that doesn't fit into the categories of mass-market thriller or book-club friendly WI-lit, then it is going to struggle to find a publisher. If it does so, then it will struggle to find a publisher that can justify spending the marketing money needed to make an impact."

One of the cool perks these winners get is having their portrait done in tintype by photographer Tif Hunter. You can see them HERE.

To see a bit about the books themselves, go HERE.

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