Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Opportunity knocks

The Guardian (reached via booktrade.info) announces that the Book Trust is setting up a series of national awards (presumably for UK citizens only) which are worth £5000 each. These are for unpublished writers of fiction, literary non-fiction, and poetry.

By the look of it, these awards have a definite literary bias to them. Would-be writers of Mills & Boon romances will probably not be welcome. Why that should be so is a mystery to me, but there you go. Snobbery is rife in the book world.

The Book Trust web site is distinctly coy about its source of funding, but there is a reference to the Arts Council as the lead sponsor, so I imagine it's the poor bloody taxpayer, as usual. Why don't you just let me keep my own money, and I'll decide which authors to support.

Meanwhile Cantara Christopher, in the course of commenting on the ULA, reveals that she is editor of an outfit called Published in New York. This seems to be a webzine which, in its own words, 'covers the independent book and fiction magazine publishing scene chiefly but not exclusively in and around New York, through features, essays, publisher profiles, "how-I-did-it" articles, and news about innovations and technological advances that benefit small electronic and print presses. Following in the noble tradition of DIY (Do It Yourself) that reached its zenith in the early pre-Internet 1990s, PINY is done on the fly, done for peanuts, done for love, rages against the machine, is highly opinionated, and hopes to be not only useful to both writers and publishers, but intelligent, provocative and fun.'

So, here we have yet another set of people who have decided that the big-time publishers and magazines are never going to see sense, and have decided to find readers themselves. This must be about the sixth such enterprise that I've come across, and mentioned here, I hope, in the last week.

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