Articles on Literary Prizes

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A wax model of Ernest Hemingway at Madame Tussauds in New York. Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock.com

Friday essay: why literary celebrity is a double-edged sword

Bob Dylan is now a literary celebrity. And next week, the Booker Prize judges will anoint another. The tag is still chiefly attached to men but women authors shouldn't despair: fame and good writing can be uneasy bedfellows.
Dylan is a musician, who has been well recognised in his field. Simon Murphy/Flickr

In honouring Dylan, the Nobel Prize judges have made a category error

Were there really no poets or novelists or essayists - no people who have spent their lives in the field of literature - considered Nobel-worthy? This nostalgic decision is discourteous to writers.
What are the criteria for a Prime Minister intervening in these awards? Literary reasons? Personal reasons? ‘History war’ reasons? Michael Tapp

Why the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards need an urgent overhaul

They should be our pre-eminent national writing prizes. Instead, these awards bob on the vast sea of daily politics, occasionally getting dumped by a breaker.
Is everything written by an Australian automatically “Australian writing”? Mark Wassell/Flickr

True Blue? Crime fiction and Australia

Michael Robotham is the second Australian writer to win the Golden Dagger, but is his book Australian? And does it matter?
Sofie Laguna last night became the fourth woman to win the Miles Franklin award in as many years. Allen&Unwin

Sofie Laguna’s Miles Franklin win helps keep half the world visible

If a society should be judged by the way it treats its children, and those who are struggling on the margins, then Laguna’s work once again proves that the novel is a crucial means for drawing attention to the burning problems of our times.
Helen Macdonald, winner of the 2014 Costa Book of the Year. Marzena Pogorzaly

Why popular culture is mad for medical fiction

Whatever your opinion of book prizes, they remain a useful tool for understanding what is popular in the literary world. The Costa Book of the Year, awarded this year to Helen Macdonald for her book H…
Best to keep it under the covers? Lisa S.

Why I’d say yes, yes, yes to the Bad Sex award

Sexual intercourse is getting on a bit. Not only has it been boosting the human population since we emerged from the primordial swamp, it’s more than half a century since Philip Larkin noted its arrival…
Odds were on for Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong'o winning the Nobel Prize this year. University of California/Ho/EPA

Five African novels to read before you die

There is a surfeit of book prizes. Big ones, small ones, ones that award experimental fiction, others that concentrate on female authors, or young authors, or authors from Ireland or Latin America. African…
National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson speaks to a group of young readers. Tulsa City-County Library/Flickr

The lesson about diversity at this year’s National Book Awards

In his 2005 book The Economy of Prestige, James F. English influentially argued that prizes thrive on scandal. Just last week, scholar Kathleen Horning claimed this year’s National Book Awards could change…
Need some way of sorting through all these… Thomas Hawk

Literary prizes are still crucial, despite prevailing scepticism

The winners of the enormously respected Pulitzer Prizes have been announced, and of the 21 award categories for journalism and the arts, three caught my eye in particular. Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch won…
The Young Archie is a new category in the annual Archibald Prize. But should it be abandoned? AAP Image/Paul Miller

Eye on the prize

Prizes are a common feature on the cultural economy landscape. In Australia there is the famous Archibald Prize for portraiture, there are numerous prizes for literature and poetry, the AFI Awards in film…
One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other. kieri d l h

Welcome to the global boudoir, where sex is so bad it’s gaga

Do you remember how people used to walk about with ghetto blasters, so you could hardly escape the high-volume throb of some visceral drumbeat? Being alive now is like having your head permanently wedged…

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