A new book prize has been launched to recognise thrillers which do not feature violence against women.
In recent years, books such as The Girl on the Train, Before I Go to Sleep, and Behind Closed Doors have all been bestsellers, but all have storylines which centre on violence against women or women in abusive relationships.
In a bid to try and change this, the Staunch Book Prize has been launched and will be awarded to the author of a thriller in which “no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered”.
Launched by author Bridget Lawless, the award is intended to “invite thriller writers to keep us on the edge of our seats without resorting to the same old clichés – particularly female characters who are sexually assaulted (however “necessary to the plot”), or done away with (however ingeniously).
“That doesn’t mean we’re just looking for thrillers that feature men in jeopardy, but stories in which female characters don’t have to be raped before they can be empowered, or become casual collateral to pump up the plot.”
The award is focused on thrillers “because they’re a huge and important genre in their own right”, and due to their prominence in being adapted for film and television, reaching an even wider audience than books alone.
Submissions for the award open to novels written in English on February 22 and run until July 15, 2018, with the shortlist announced in September of the same year, and the winner revealed in November.