The idea of running a new book prize that openly refuses to reward violence against women came as a flash of inspired frustration – and now look what’s happened.
An amazing wave of support has run behind this project from the start, bringing it to life very quickly. From that response, clearly it’s timely and wanted. I’m certainly not alone in getting increasingly fed up and disgusted with fictional depictions of violence happening to women in books, films and television. It echoes, exaggerates, fetishises and normalises what happens to women in the real world. But I know there are writers creating thrilling and complex work without going there.
On a personal level, it’s made me completely re-examine my own writing. I’ve been just as guilty of falling blindly into those old clichés. That’s proving a fascinating journey in itself and I’m planning to develop teaching and discussion materials to help writers, editors, teachers and book groups think about these issues. When I get a moment, that is.
Good luck to all who are entering their work in the competition. I look forward to reading every word.