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Staunch in Shelf Awareness

By 6th November 2018No Comments

Awards: Staunch Book Shortlist

A shortlist has been released for the £2,000 (about $2,605) Staunch Book Prize, which was launched by author and screenwriter Bridget Lawless in January to recognize “a thriller in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered.”

According to the Bookseller, the prize initially “attracted some criticism from authors such as Sophie Hannah and Val McDermid with accusations of censorship and ‘missing the point.’ Organizers of the CrimeFest event in Bristol subsequently withdrew its offer of a complimentary pass and panel appearance for the winning writer.”

“The criticism was fairly vicious at times, but sometimes quite measured, even funny,” said Lawless. “But mostly, it missed the point of what we were trying to do. We were accused of ‘banning’ violence, telling writers what they can or can’t write, censorship, trying to destroy livelihoods, and so on. In fact, we were simply looking for alternatives to depicting women as victims of sexual violence and murder.

“We weren’t telling people not to write those stories, but inviting new and more original narratives a space where crime fiction dominates to a quite extraordinary degree. The criticism did come almost exclusively from crime writers, but we had so many positive responses from around the world that it’s clear we’re by no means a lone voice.”

The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony November 26 in London. The shortlisted Staunch Book Prize titles are:

The Appraisal by Anna Porter
East of Hounslow by Khurrum Rahman
If I Die Tonight by A.L. Gaylin
On the Java Ridge by Jock Serong
The Kennedy Moment by Peter Adamson
Cops and Queens by Joyce Thompson