What a fantastic first year for Staunch Book Prize!
Our initiative sparked joy for many, especially those who had never before considered that fictional depictions of both female victims and male predators could impact on women fighting for justice in real life. Readers around the world told us they’d given up on thrillers entirely because of the violence, particularly sexual violence towards women. Some authors said they felt under pressure to write that kind of material in order to get published. Some had gone along with it. Some had stopped writing thrillers altogether. Others shunned these expectations and continued to tread their own creative path. They are the stars of this story/
The outcome was a shortlist of six tremendous thrillers, all very different and each with a strong, individual voice telling an intriguing, tense and well-crafted story. There were two from mainstream publishers, three from indie publishers, and one unpublished manuscript. None had resorted to the familiar clichés of torturing, raping or murdering female characters just because they are women and that’s what sells.
On the Java Ridge by Australian author Jock Serong set the bar high as our inaugural winner and we can’t wait to discover who will be our winner for 2019!.
|Staunch 2019 will reopen 21st February and our resolve is even stronger.
We are now even more aware of the link that fictional violence plays in influencing justice (or lack of it) where real women are concerned.
The ‘rape myth stereotype’ too often portrayed in popular culture tells readers and audiences that rapes are committed by serial killers, psychopaths, stalkers and opportunistic strangers. In fact, 90% of rapes are committed by men known to their victim. Men who women thought they could trust and may have dated and invited into their homes. This has been proven not fit with a juror’s image of the serial rapist or masked assailant down a dark alley and blurs their notion of ‘consent’. Could this be why only 1-4% of rapes prosecuted in the UK result in a conviction? Thankfully, audiences are starting to call out predatory behaviour – including when portrayed as ‘romantic’ – across all genres and forms of popular culture.
Our huge thanks to all who entered their own or their published authors’ work, and to our first Staunch judges. Look out for announcements about our new judging panel. Whether you’re an author or a reader, we hope you’ll get behind our hunt for original thrillers that don’t feature violence towards women by entering your work, sharing our news or voicing your views on Staunch 2019!