We launched the Staunch Book Prize because we felt that there’s just such an overload of violence towards women in fiction. When women in the real world are fighting sexual abuse and violence, or being murdered because they’re women, the casual and endless depiction of women as victims sits uneasily alongside their fight. Not everyone feels the same, of course, and everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but since this website went live, a huge number of people have contacted us to tell us they agree – and that they can’t wait to read the short list and winning novels.
So, for this audience in particular, but for readers everywhere, we’re inviting thriller writers to keep us on the edge of our seats without resorting to the same old clichés – particularly female characters who are sexually assaulted (however ‘necessary to the plot’), or done away with (however ingeniously).
That doesn’t mean we’re just looking for thrillers that feature men in jeopardy, but stories in which female characters don’t have to be raped before they can be empowered, or become casual collateral to pump up the plot. If your story features a woman in a strong leading role, even better! But follow the main criteria to see if your story might be a winner.
We’re focusing on thriller novels because they’re a huge and important genre in their own right – and they’re frequently also source material for film and television. Let’s show not only readers, but producers, directors and actors that there are amazing, complex thrillers being created today by writers with truly fresh ideas, great imagination and brilliant plotting skill.
So… Dark, psychological, philosophical, crime, mystery, political, historical, religious, even comedy, whatever type of thriller – if it fits our criteria, we want to read it. We know there are more original stories out there – and we want to celebrate those authors.
Submissions are welcome from publishers, agents or writers for thrillers that have been traditionally or self-published (print or e-book) FOR THE FIRST TIME within 18 months of the closing date, or which have not been published yet.
The competition is open to authors of any nationality who are over the age of 18 at the closing date of the Prize. All submissions must be in English.
Please see the Guidelines for full details and definition of ‘murdered’ before submitting.
The competition opened on 22nd February 2018 and will close at midnight (BST) on 15th July 2018.
Shortlisted novels will be announced in October 2018.
The winner will be announced and the prize awarded on 25th November 2018, coinciding with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.