The Prof has written a book about literary prizes, and it's published by Harvard UP, no less. It's a study of the role that prizes play in 'transactions that involve symbolic capital'. Whatever that means. And it almost certainly isn't worth the trouble trying to find out.
The last Q and A exchange goes as follows:
Q. Should we distrust prizes as measures of cultural worth?Erm... Yes. Actually. It is. Certainly a lot better than the opinions of professors of Eng. Lit.
A. What I would say is, What's more reliable? What's better than prizes? Sheer popularity?
Of course there are prizes and prizes. Jenny Haddon, Chairman of the UK Romantic Novelists' Association, describes a good way of awarding one in her comment on my post of 6 September about the so-called National Short Story award. There is also a science-fiction prize which is awarded by one of the fan groups (could it be the BFSA?) on the basis of members' votes; and, most importantly, there is an opportunity to vote 'no award' if you think the year has not been a good one. I know I've read about this somewhere, but despite determined googling this morning I can't find the details.