Original Article Published March 5, 2018 by Heloise Wood via The Bookseller
CrimeFest has withdrawn its offer to host the winner of the recently-launched Staunch Book Prize.
Organisers of the annual crime writing festival in Bristol had offered a complimentary pass and panel appearance for the winner of the Staunch Book Prize, but they have now reversed their decision, drawing criticism from the Staunch organisers. The move follows weeks of debate in the press and on social media about whether the prize is progressive or damaging to crime writing.
The £2,000 award to find the best thriller in which no woman gets beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered launched in January, but received criticism from some high profile crime authors, such as Sophie Hannah and Val McDermid. McDermid said she resented “being lumped together with the crass, the incompetent and the pornographers of violence” and Hannah argued in the Guardian that “brutality is not the same thing as writing about brutality”.
CrimeFest co-host Adrian Muller told The Bookseller: “Whilst we acknowledge the good intentions with which the Staunch Book Prize was set up, there are different ways to highlight the problem of violence against women. One of them is to write about this violence in a sensitive way. To suggest that authors who take this route are part of the problem is damaging to everyone involved in raising awareness for this issue. As a result we regrettably concluded that it was no longer appropriate for us to contribute to, or be associated with, the Staunch Book Prize.”
Literary agent Piers Blofeld, who joined founder Bridget Lawless (pictured) and actor and writer Doon MacKichan on the judging panel for the prize earlier this month, has blasted CrimeFest’s decision.
Blofeld, of Sheil Land Associates, said: “CrimeFest hasn’t given a reason that I can make sense of. They were going to offer a free pass to the winner, and have the winner on a panel… Read More