Tag Archives: The Green Carnation Prize 2010

The Green Carnation Prize is One Today…

A very brief post, as I am ironically in the depths of Green Carnation Prize reading (we have probably had at least double what we did and there are many more still coming), to say that The Green Carnation Prize is one exactly today, I think that calls for cake…

I can’t believe it, and am thrilled that its having such a bonkers second year, even if it has made my amount of reading over the next few weeks near impossible. Do go and wish it a Happy Birthday and have a look at what one of the fellow co-founders, Paul Magrs, has to say about what simply started as a little tweet. The website is here.


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Simon’s Bookish Bits #28

Firstly a big thank you again for all your well wishing after my health update and also for your recommendations for poor Granny Savidge Reads who is currently snowed in and getting a dose of cabin fever in the peaks. Your comments and thoughts are always much appreciated. Right back to bookish business with a Savidge quote, some Agatha Raisin winners, another book giveaway, and your help with the dreaded return of reader’s block, which seems to have made a rather annoying return here at Savidge Reads HQ!

You may remember that earlier in the year I got rather excited about Justin Cronin’s ‘The Passage’ and thoroughly enjoyed this escapist, and also very well written, novel. I have to say I wasn’t sure it would be my cup of tea but I was completely lost in it, it’s a recommendation if you’re puzzling over a Christmas present for someone this year. Anyway, imagine my surprise when I had an email from the novels publicist saying ‘you need to pop to a bookshop and check the inside pages of the trade paperback of The Passage’. So of course I had to go and have a peek and look what I discovered…

… There was little old me quoted alongside blinking Stephen King!!! I might possibly have let out a little squeal in said book shop but I couldn’t possibly confirm this. Ha!

Now then last week I offered two of you the entire collection of one of my favourite series the wonderful ‘Agatha Raisin’ mysteries. It was only to UK readers but if you scroll down I have another one that’s open worldwide. The lucky two winners picked at random for this perfect pre-Christmas parcel are… Gavreads and Christine C so if you could email your addresses to savidgereads@gmail.com I can get these out to you pronto!!

Now as you might just be aware The Green Carnation Prize Winner 2010 was announced on Wednesday. You have the chance, worldwide, to win a copy of the book by helping out the judging panel for the prize in 2011. I am going to be Chair of the Judges which is very exciting and am really keen to get as much feedback from you all as is possible. So get suggesting! You have until the day the new judging panel for 2011 is announced next week, I can tell you I am very excited by the line up, we have some familiar faces and some new… oooh I mustn’t say anymore.

Finally a bit of annoyance is going on at Savidge Reads HQ as once again I have readers block. I am meant to be discussing ‘Middlesex’ at book group on Monday (dependent on hospital visit date and time) and as yet I haven’t read a word of it despite how good I have heard it is. In fact any reading seems like a no go at the moment. It might be all the mad reading we did for this year’s Green Carnation (we have six months next year to longlist as opposed to this years one) or it might be the whole health thing – either way it’s annoying. I have asked for your help with this one before but like a stuck record I am asking yet again! Help!


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And Winner of The Green Carnation Prize 2010 is…

After many hours of discussion and lively debate (and not a tantrum in sight) the judges have managed to whittle down the five shortlisted books for ‘The Green Carnation Prize 2010’ and have come up with their winner…

Paperboy by Christopher Fowler

 ‘Superman, Dracula, The Avengers, Treasure Island…when you’re ten years old, you can fall in love with any story so long as it’s a good one. But what if you’re growing up in a house without books?

Christopher Fowler’s memoir captures life in suburban London as it has rarely been seen: through the eyes of a lonely boy who spends his days between the library and the cinema, devouring novels, comics, cereal packets – anything that might reveal a story. But it’s 1960, and after fifteen years of post-war belt-tightening, his family is not ready to indulge a child cursed with too much imagination…

Caught between an ever-sensible but exhausted mother and a DIY-obsessed father fighting his own demons, Christopher takes refuge in words. His parents try to understand their son’s peculiar obsessions, but fast lose patience with him – and each other. The war of nerves escalates to include every member of the Fowler family, and something has to give, but does it mean that a boy must always give up his dreams for the tough lessons of real life? Beautifully written, this rich and astute evocation of a time and a place recalls a childhood at once eccentric and endearingly ordinary.’

The judges Paul Magrs, Nick Campbell, Lesley Cookman, Katy Manning and Simon Savidge have had a tough time: they thought any of the five books could have won, so it was no easy mission. Simon Savidge who will be taking over as Chair in 2011 said “it was such a difficult decision, each book had its own strengths. ‘God Says No for putting you into the mind set of someone I never thought I could understand and enraging you and making you laugh out loud, London Triptych for its characters (one of which might just be my favourite character of the year) and historical feel over the generations, Children of the Sun for being an importantly disturbing and shocking tale and Man’s World for its humour, emotion and more.

Yet in the end they were all agreed that Paperboy, which is a memoir with a delightful fictional feel in parts as he writes in the voices of those he remembers. Paul Magrs Chair of the judges for 2010 said ‘Paperboy is about the forming of a gay sensibility – but more than that, it’s about the growth of a reader and a wonderfully generous and inventive writer. It’s a great wodge of social history – of back-to-back houses, plasticine models and exercise books, and how Lois Lane’s adventures were always more interesting than Superman’s. It’s modest, funny and brilliant.’


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And The Green Carnation Shortlist is…

It is my pleasure to announce that The Green Carnation Prize Shortlist 2010 (though it’s actually already on The Green Carnation site) is a brilliant selection of five books which are…

  • Paperboy – Christopher Fowler
    (Bantam Books)
  • God Says No – James Hannaham
  • London Triptych – Jonathan Kemp
    (Myriad Editions)
  • Children of the Sun – Max Schaefer
  • Man’s World – Rupert Smith
    (Arcadia Books)

Why these five books? Well I cannot speak for the whole judging panel as a whole but I can say that we are all really, really pleased with this selection of books. Though it was blinking hard as the longlist was very strong!!!

Personally I can say that I  could happily recommend that you read each of the titles not only for the writing which I think is brilliant in every case I can recommend them individually Paperboy for its wit, voice and style as a memoir, God Says No for putting you into the mind set of someone I never thought I could understand and enraging you and making you laugh out loud, London Triptych for its characters (one of which might just be my favourite character of the year) and historical feel over the generations, Children of the Sun for being an importantly disturbing and shocking tale and Man’s World for its humour, emotion and more. I could go on and on about each and every one of them.

Can you tell that we have quite a mission ahead of us as a panel of judges? I think every single one of these books would be a worthy winner.

So what do you think of the short list? Have you read any of them?


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The Green Carnation Debate

In under 24 hours it will be a week since we announced The Green Carnation Prize Longlist 2010. Whilst we were all very excited, especially after spending hours of our free time – with emphasis on free – creating, renaming, contacting and then most importantly reading lots and lots and lots and seeing it come to fruition finally and hearing your thoughts. 

We weren’t honestly expecting any controversy, but in the last few days in particular there has been a rather murky edge to everything (maybe its the time of the year having its effects on people?) and what we hoped would be a discussion on the books has become a strange sort of bitchy debate both on the prize’s website itself, on social sites and elsewhere in the internet ether. Its been quite saddening really. I was going to stay silent but that isn’y very me and its something I am so, so, so passionate about and so I added a comment…

“As a judge myself, one of the hardest things for me was the books that didn’t make it. You know any author has spent hours and hours dedicating their time to writing a book. So I know for that reason we all found not putting any of the submissions through hard, we all did because we did had to make a decision.

Only the judges know what books didnt get through and why – it was nothing to do with who their market was, their genre or how many books they had or hadn’t written. One of my personal favourites didn’t get long listed and I accepted that whilst I got it and loved it there were four other people who didn’t and that was that – I just decided I will by it for lots and lots of people for Christmas instead. I think all the judges had moments like that or vice versa.

There were however eleven books where we all agreed after a long discussion, therefore of course as a panel we put them through. It isn’t a personal thing if people didn’t get through (and there were lots of authors who didn’t) it’s just the way it was.

It’s sad to see so many personal comments at authors or us as judges flying around here and all over the shop elsewhere. Especially after dedicating our free time to an award we all think is needed and one we are proud of. I could whittle on forages but instead I will put a link to a blog which sums up my feelings more eloquently than I probably can.


And that’s all I can say really.


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The Green Carnation Longlist 2010

A very tired man writes this up for you this morning. The Green Carnation judges met last night to sort out the submissions and after a long night of discussion, lively debate and frankly lots and lots of laughing (which is the way all good meetings should be)  we’ve got you a lovely longlist, well we hope you think its lovely. However, some of the judges didn’t go to bed until gone 1.30am, can’t think who one of them was!!

Anyway enough of that shenanigans, you all just want to know what this years Green Carnation Longlist (or the Green Carnation Bunch) 2010 is don’t you? So without further ado here are the eleven titles…

  • Generation A by Douglas Coupland (Windmill Books)
  • Bryant and May Off the Rails by Christopher Fowler (Doubleday)
  • Paperboy by Christopher Fowler (Doubleday)
  • In A Strange Room by Damon Galgut (Atlantic Books)
  • God Says No by James Hannaham (McSweeney’s)
  • London Triptych by Jonathan Kemp (Myriad Editions)
  • Mary Ann in Autumn by Armistead Maupin (Doubleday)
  • Children of the Sun by Max Schaefer (Granta)
  • Man’s World by Rupert Smith (Arcadia Books)
  • The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (Tuskar Rock Press)
  • City Boy by Edmund White (Bloomsbury)

None of us are going to release any official thoughts about the long list or each and every title and they were chosen as we feel if people read them then the books will speak for themselves. I do think its interesting that we have such a nice mix of debut authors, prolific and yet lesser known authors and some writing giants in the mix which is all unintentional because you judge on the writing… but more on that from me tomorrow. We also have two of the Man Booker Longlist which I think is quite interesting, and one author twice which I think will prove a talking point!

Rather than go on and on here I will hand over to you to start some discussion on the list. So what are your thoughts on the very first Green Carnation Longlist/Bunch? What have you read? What or who have you not heard of? Are any of you tempted to give some of them a go (we really would love it)? Are there any surprises?

I will pop back and chatter with you all day (when I am not dozing) and try and answer any questions I can and am allowed to! Oh and don’t forget to pop to The Green Carnation website where there is a rather smashing shot of the judges together. Right, let’s get discussing… oh and do spread the word if you can and would be so kind!


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Talking Books…

Some photographs I only discovered at the weekend that The Converted One took in Scarthin Books café of my Gran and I seem the perfect pictures for today’s post because they are pictures of us firstly having some kind of rather heated book debate over our tea one minute…

And then unable to contain ourselves laughing the next minute…

Aren’t they lovely? These pictures to me show the differing joys of reading and talking about books, if only I could remember what the books were that we were talking about. These two pictures are also ones that I will treasure forever as the illustrate me and Gran’s relationship brilliantly, we had no idea The Converted One was snapping away. Any back to talking about books…

In fact at around 5pm big discussions will be starting in just what ‘The Green Carnation Prize Longlist 2010’ will be (though you lot won’t know the results until tomorrow morning). I am getting quite nervous as have a couple of books am rather passionate about and haven’t had to champion books in this way before. I am also a bit nervous because I haven’t met some of the other judges before and have only met the two I have very briefly. I am sure it will be a delight and actually I am getting really excited about a good long natter about what has been a selection of some fantastic books… and some not so.

Subsequently you might not see so many book reviews on the blog for a week or so. In part because I am not sure if I will write about the books that don’t make it into the longlist yet, at all or after the winner is announced in December. It is also a case of me feeling quite read out at the moment. ‘The Green Carnation Prize’ submissions the final one of which I put down on Sunday where rather more books than I could ever imagine reading in a month – not that I am complaining.

However I am once again going to be able to talk much more about the books I am reading and the books I might have been reading which I am looking forward to. So this week and some of next will see much more discussion based posts looming. I just need to let them all form in my head and get over the nerves and excitement of tonight! Oh and tomorrow myself and Novel Insights are meeting to chatter about a new project that involves us chattering about books… but more of that in the forthcoming weeks.

For now though how about playing catch up? As over the weekend I asked you a question about classics that I would love more of your thoughts on and yesterday I asked you all about ghost stories which I would also love your suggestions on. Also ‘The Bookboy’ has been back and is wondering what other books you would like to see him read here. So lots and lots for you to get chatting about please, you guys are always marvellous with your siggestions!

P.S I need to go and mull over what the heck to wear tonight, we have a photo shoot first, so any suggestions for what a male book judge should be seen in (pref that isn’t a suit) are most welcome in the comments below too!


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