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Staunch in Women’s Views on News

By 12th November 2018No Comments

New book prize has strange idea

Posted by Campaigns on Nov 7, 2018 in Culture

The Staunch Book Prize, inaugral shortlist, thriller novel, no female victim, Bridget Lawless, Doon Mackichan , Body Count RisingThe shortlist for the inaugural Staunch Book Prize has been announced.

The Staunch Book Prize was founded by Bridget Lawless in order to create an alternative to the “overload of violence towards women in fiction”.

It will be awarded to the author of a novel in the thriller genre – crime, psychological, comedy and mystery – in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered.

Lawless decided to launch the prize after seeing the number of films featuring rape as a plot device in the recent  Baftas and choosing to abstain from voting in the awards.

Lawless, who is one of the judges for the prize, argues that thriller writers should be able to pen page turners which keep the reader on tenterhooks without resorting to overused clichés that involve violence against women.

Women in the real world are fighting sexual abuse and violence, being disbelieved when they report rape or assault, or being murdered because they are women, and the casual and endless depiction of women as victims or prey sits uneasily alongside this.

And while real rape survivors struggle to be heard and counted, fictional rape victims take the stage – usually as two-dimensional characters – in stories that celebrate the cunning (often charming sexiness/astonishing brutality) of serial rapists and the dogged brilliance of detectives.

To look at the books on the 2018 shortlist, click here and then on the cover image to find each author biography and interview, a description of the novel and to read some opening chapters.

The judges are Lawless, agent Piers BlofeldElaine Richard and actor Doon Mackichan.

In October 2016, Mackichan wrote and presented a BBC Radio 4 documentary called Body Count Rising, which explored many aspects of the subject, including what it’s like to be the woman playing the on-screen victim of violent assault. To listen to Body Count Rising, click here.

The winner will be revealed on 26 November – a day after the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.