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.


Filed under The Green Carnation Prize

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!


Filed under Book Thoughts, Simon's Bookish Bits

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.’


Filed under Book Thoughts, The Green Carnation Prize

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?


Filed under The Green Carnation Prize

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.


Filed under The Green Carnation Prize

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!


Filed under Book Thoughts

Not Talking About Books

Though the above might not exactly be what I have been doing for the last few weeks yet it is slightly how I have felt of late. I know if you have popped by the blog and seen the posts going up you might be thinking ‘what on earth is this chap talking about?’ There is however quite a big difference between typing about books and talking about them, now typing I have been doing lots of.

With the secrecy behind ‘The Green Carnation’ submissions for this year I have literally not talked to anyone about it. Nope, not even Novel Insights or my Gran and it’s quite weird. If books come up in conversation I either go shifty, really vague with lines like ‘oh I have just been reading masses of stuff, I wouldn’t want to bore you’ or simply have to change the subject because I know what I am like and I might just let something slip. I have of course been able to chatter online about books either here, like writing this or responding to comments and on other bloggers in their comments. And while I love it, it also isn’t the same as having a proper chin wag over a coffee, down the blower, in the pub, at book group (no disrespect to bloggers and the blogging world of course). It doesn’t quite scratch the itch.   

Neither does emailing and believe me there have been furious emails between all of the judges flying across the country (we worked out a whopping 32,000 words have been whizzing through the either catching up on where we are at and what our thoughts might be on this one and that one and so forth) but until dinner on Tuesday when we debate and decide on the longlist I wont have physically breathed a word, not even a hint, about any of the books that have come in for it.

In fact I noticed the other day that I haven’t done a post on incoming books for ages, in part because I haven’t asked for any for ages and also because most of what has come in are Green Carnation submissions. In fact maybe I will pop a secret post in below so you can have a look at anything that isn’t Green Carnation related that’s come in and we can have a chatter about those? In fact I most definitely should as some of you have sent me books and though I have thanked you by email I haven’t on here. Back to my original subject of chatting about books though! (Note – I have done a post on incomings if you fancy a snoop!)

It made me think of who the real “in the flesh” people I chat to most in the world about books are and weirdly I haven’t seen them for a catch up or spoken to them on the phone for ages. So members of book group (and Kim, Dom and Polly in particular who I see often out of it), Gran, Mum and my little sister Miriam I am sorry it’s not been avoidance honestly.

It has given me some time to think, and not in a bad way. I have been scheming and plotting some new bits and bobs for the blog and looking at how I review things (you may even see the odd slightly, and I mean slightly, negative review), which books I am missing out on and shouldn’t be and where my focus is and isn’t. All really positive stuff actually. Maybe now and again we need to be cut out of the book chattering world a little (and lost in the real world with some good books, some amazing books and some absolute duds – oh see, I nearly slipped right there) and focus on some other things and catch up with everything else?

It has been hard but good and it will get a little bit easier and a little bit better after next Wednesday; just don’t go asking me what my favourite is in the long list, ha!

So have there ever been times when you haven’t been able to talk about books? How did you cope? Is it just something you simply cannot imagine? Who are the people away from the internet and in the real world you instantly turn to and have a natter with about books and why?

P.S I hope no one thinks I am moaning about judging for The Green Carnation Prize, I’m not honest (its just made me think) and have already signed up for The Green Carnation 2011, which is going to be something quite special… mind you am not meant to be talking about that until December. Best shush again, oops.


Filed under Book Thoughts

The Green Carnation Countdown and a Competition

Just a quick post before some bookish thoughts coming later in the day… I haven’t really mentioned The Green Carnation Prize properly for a while. I have been a little worried if I keep on mentioning it I will sound like a stuck record and you will all be bored to tears with it. However I am breaking the silence a little bit as over on The Green Carnation Prize website (which you should be visiting regularly anyway for some of the blogs from the judges – ha) there is a competition which could see you winning a lovely haul of bookish loot. So do pop over and have a go.

As the longlist or ‘The Green Carnation Bunch’ announcement is still a week away (yet it seems to have gone by far too quickly) I still cant say too much, I will say we have had more submissions than I ever thought we would and that, on the whole, publishers have really gotten behind this prize like many of you lovely people out there have and we are really grateful. Oh dear that sounded like I was going off into an Oscar speech, moving swiftly on…

Next week will see some more Green Carnation dedicated posts on Savidge Reads not about the long listed books so much, as I don’t want to give my thoughts away and have you thinking there are any early favourites (not that I have a clue what will be on the list, all the judges have very different tastes which is exciting) but more on the process and thoughts its brought up. For example I have already drafted two posts on ‘Controversy Over Content’ and ‘Too Much Sex, Not Enough Plot’ which could up becoming one piece. I wondered if there was anything you would like to know? Some of you mentioned the judging process, but what specifically? Let me know and I will see what I can do, and don’t forget to head off for that competition!


Filed under The Green Carnation Prize

What Do You Want & Expect From An Award Winning Book?

This is a question which I have been asked rather a lot recently. Actually the exact question has been ‘what do you look for in an award winning book?’ So I thought I would open it up to all of you for all your thoughts on that very subject. We all do it, we judge the panel that judge the award and we always have opinions of why a winning book should/shouldn’t or did/didn’t win don’t we? (If anyone is saying no then you are fibbing!) I am also interested, as ever, in what you all think because I would like to see just how different or similar our expectations are with these books. 

I could easily think of some recent titles that show just how much discussion/controversy book winners can cause. The first that came to mind were these two both winners of awards in 2010.

First up is ‘Truth’ by Peter Temple, which I have now decided I need to get my hands on imminently, this book seemed to shock everyone by being a ‘crime/thriller’ that won the literary prize The Miles Franklin Award 2010. Why should that be so shocking, does the genre really matter? There seems some great surprise, like when Tom Rob Smith’s brilliant ‘Child 44’ was put forward for the Man Booker, that a crime book could be well written and yet they are well written (need I send you in the direction of Kate Atkinson or have I raved about her enough?) in fact I think some of the plots in some of the best thrillers published could put some of the more prose heavy contenders to shame yet you wouldn’t.

Also a shock winner this year was ‘The Lacuna’ by Barbara Kingsolver (which I gave up on and am giving to Gran at the weekend as she’s doing it for one of her book groups and a ‘guest review’ on here) which caused a lot of controversy for winning the Orange over what many believed was the better novel ‘Wolf Hall’. It appeared the judges couldn’t let the latter book win as it won the Booker the year before, which strikes me as slightly odd because surely if its won one award already it’s because its bloody good and deserves to win more? Or is it just me that belongs to that rare school of logic?

Turning to another subject on award winners I was interested that reviews of one of this years Man Booker long-listed titles ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue have suggested that despite the fact people think its absolutely brilliant they doubt it will be Man Booker winning material because its too accessible. I am not berating that because that’s what I thought too, why though? Shouldn’t the books that go on to win awards, not only by being very well written, be able to reach out to a mass of people and just be a cracking good read as well as everything else?

Really with most awards it’s down to a group of people rather than us and what they think makes a cracking read. They aren’t able to please everyone and yet we expect them to, which brings me nicely to my next point.  

Another question which I have been asked a lot is ‘what qualifies you to be a judge of what is a good book or not?’ My answer so far to that one has been ‘I read enough of them to know what I like, what makes a book special or amazing rather than just another good read, it’s a very personal thing too.’ Which left me wondering what my criteria is for an award winning book and I don’t think it would match some other peoples, and maybe people will be asking the question at the start of this paragraph even more after seeing what it is.

Though because we have sworn to secrecy I can’t tell you how many books have been submitted for The Green Carnation Prize 2010, which ones they are/might be or which publishers sent them… I do feel I can tell you what I personally will be looking for regardless of genre, length etc;

  • The writing has to be captivating. I don’t mean that it has to be the most beautiful prose that has ever graced a page – though that helps – I do need to be spell bound by it, every word should count without being calculated and together as a whole work have an effect on me.
  • It needs to be readable and accessible. I don’t want to be able to put it down (this doesn’t mean it has to be trashy books like the marvellous ‘The Hand That First Held Mine’ by Maggie O’Farrell can be stunningly written and also page turning) yet I don’t want to enjoy it and forget about it as soon as its on the shelf.
  • I want narrators who I believe the whole way through no matter how lovely or vile or how reliable or not they may be.
  • It needs to be a book I would rush out and buy for anyone and everyone (hence why no thoughts on any of the long listed or short listed books of a certain prize will appear on my blog or be discussed by me in specifics in the real world until the winners announced) because because its a great story and one I want others to read asap.
  • Most importantly I want a book that stands out and etches itself in my brain in some way, it doesn’t have to change my life or world completely, but it does need make me think and linger with me for days, weeks and months after.  

So what makes the perfect award winning book for you? By all means mention a few titles but what I would love to get to the crux of, and am much more interested in, is just what those perfect award winning books had about them for you? What made them work for you personally? Which criteria would you be looking for if you were judging a book award? What would instantly stop you from wanting a book to go further through the process? Which book award winners have mystified you and more importantly why?


Filed under Book Thoughts, Man Booker, Orange Prize, The Green Carnation Prize

Simon’s Bookish Bits #26

I realised yesterday that I hadn’t done a bookish bits for ages and today seemed the perfect time to do one as everything seems to have had a major wobble and jolt in my reading. Interestingly its not that I am having a reading slump but more that I have too much at the moment that I want to read and can’t seem to get through. Do you ever find yourself in that very position?

In part its all down to yesterday’s news and ‘The Green Carnation Prize’, already some books have started arriving and with all the submissions arriving I am more that aware there are some books that I really want to get through before we start whittling down to a longlist between this coming Friday and the 1st of September. My current mini TBR pile on the bedside table is as follows;

  • Couples by John Updike (for Book Group, I have only just started so am thankful for taking a week of next week as its rather long. I need to have a think about Book Group though as dependent on the next titles and their length will I have time in the forthcoming months?)
  • The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (with the new BBC modern take on ‘Sherlock’ which is actually very, very good I of course want to read one of Sherlock’s original adventures)
  • Peace by Richard Bausch (I have heard rave reviews about this here there and everywhere and I haven’t read a fictional book about the actual war rather than the time period for a while)
  • Room by Emma Donoghue (I know it’s the book everyone is going to be reviewing but I don’t care as its one I am desperate to read regardless)
  • The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie (I have an urge for Marple at the moment and I always believe you should follow any urge to read a Christie)
  • Heartburn by Norah Ephron (some swine has ordered my copy so have to get this back to the library very soon)

The good thing is that four of them are fairly short and I do believe that going forward, between all the reading I am doing for ‘The Green Carnation Prize’ in forthcoming weeks, short books are the ones that will be featuring more and more on Savidge Reads. Especially since all submissions are made on a confidential basis and the judges have all agreed not to mention our thoughts on the longlisted books as we read them on our blogs, though we can mention them after the winner is announced on World Aids Day. The good news is that with all the reading I will be doing for this I will have masses of posts to schedule for here while I am in Brazil.

It has meant I have had to stop ‘The Slap’  midway through which was quite an effort for me as I thought it was shaping up nicely. But , though it hasn’t been yet, I am hoping it gets submitted… I shall say no more than that.

I have decided to give myself a bit of time off and so will be scheduling some posts for the week ahead today before heading off to the new Jimmy Spices in London (again, I went of Friday but its possibly my favourite place on earth) and having an evening of no books. Then, having booked a week off, its down to some earnest reading and a little more silence from me than usual on comments both here and around the blogosphere whilst I get my pre-judging reading sorted. So do bear with me.

So how is all your reading going? I have seen some slumps here or there in the blogosphere are occurring, do you have any advice for any of those bloggers? What are the top five books you have your sights on for reading in the very near future? Do you have any other bookish plans or news to share?


Filed under Simon's Bookish Bits

A New Book Award for 2010…

I am going to do that thing of saying if you don’t always read every post I write (then how dare you, ha) then do please give this one a whirl! It is one that’s important to me and something that I am rather passionate about. A new book award has been unleashed this week and its one that is rather new and one that has really been a long time coming yet no one seems to have done it before in the UK, or even possibly the rest of the world. A prize ‘that dare not speak its name’, actually at several points this week that couldn’t have been truer, let me explain…

The whole thing actually started as an off-the-cuff comment by the author Paul Magrs (whose Brenda and Effie novels I love so) on twitter and facebook. One the day that ‘The Man Booker Longlist’ was announced he wondered why there was no award for writing for gay men and something that covered every genre? So an idea had been born and with a supportive ‘what a great idea’ comment from me and several emails later slowly but surely something real started to emerge.

Note:- Just to add in here I am aware that gay men get on the Booker list, in fact to longlisted authors are gay men this year. It’s just nothing specifically celebrating the gay male authors and their writing can be funny, exciting, harrowing, uplifting and challenging – and it can range right across the genres.

Initially named ‘The Man Fooker Prize’ we set up a site, managed to get three more judges and started contacting publishers and that was where we hit the first glitch… the name! All those publishers who actually responded (several didn’t but I wont name and shame them as they might yet) thought it was a great idea, the name just bothered them. Some didn’t care and have since submitted several titles (my reading plans are severely about to go up a certain creek) yet for some it seemed was perplexingly causing ‘controversy’, ‘being a little crude and graphic’ or ‘looking like a spoof’.

The latter I could understand but the reasoning behind the name one of my fellow judges put perfectly “it’s a response to the Booker – the monumentalism of it – and so the name is sort of important. The sense of irreverence and, well, fun are important. Sadly I can’t imagine ever hearing Mariella Frostrup saying it at teatime, but isn’t that part of it too? That it’s a bit cheeky, a bit impolite.”

However it seems if you want to get an award like this noticed you ironically have to be a little more conservative and demure and so after a few hours of brain storming ‘The Green Carnation Prize’ was born (in reference to Oscar Wilde, we are also announcing the winner on World Aids Day). This also meant therefore that so was a new website, second press release, email to all the publishers and press people in sundry having to explain the change, phew! I wonder if Kate Mosse had all this trouble with the Orange?

Naturally it would be amazing if all of you who read ‘Savidge Reads’ supported this. Not because I am a judge or helped found it but because it is an award that should be out there, it’s a subject that matters and is one we should be talking about. We all say we have gone forward with diversity, and in some ways we have… but is it as much as we think?

Do visit the site here and have a gander at everything, we would welcome feedback. Let us know if you can think of any books that match the criteria in the ‘Rules and Regulations’ as we would love to hear of as many books as possible. I know a lot of you have been doing GLBT challenges this year so all your suggestions could prove invaluable. And, though I am not begging, if you wanted to pop a link to the award in any round ups you do and a little bit about it that would be amazing, like I said though am not begging, might just be nice.

Right then I am off for some rest, it’s been a knackering week. Plus I better get cracking on all the other books I intended to read and need to before we get sampling everything for long listing! Eek! What reading plans have you got for the weekend, and what are your thoughts on ‘The Green Carnation Prize’ in general?


Filed under Book Thoughts