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The Folio Prize


Folio PrizeFollowing the 2011 Man Booker Prize, a group of representatives from across the book trade, including publishers, agents, critics and writers, set up what was at first called the Literature Prize, for which all English-language fiction would be eligible. A sponsorship with the Folio Society resulted in the name The Folio Prize being adopted and a prize fund of £40,000 for the winner.

In part it was a response to the 2011 Man Booker Prize shortlist, which was widely criticised for eschewing the more literary fiction that the Prize was set up to recognise, instead featuring more overtly populist fiction. A statement from the administrators said:

The sole criterion for judgment will be excellence: to identify works of fiction in which the story being told and the subjects being explored achieve their most perfect and thrilling expression.

The Prize also hoped to cast a wider net by allowing English-language fiction from any nationality, instead of the Booker's restriction to the writers for the UK, Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe. (This second difference was nullified when the administrators of the Man Booker Prize announced that their award would accept entries from any nationality, provided that it was published in the UK, from 2014.)

This change in the Booker criteria provoked this response from the administrators, suggesting that a certain rivalry would probably exist between the two:

Our intention was to fill a perceived gap, rather than to imply that others should adopt our model. The Man Booker's impressive reach, not least in the United States, seemed in part to be built upon its clear and distinctive parameters, so we are in some ways surprised by this decision. Still, it's important always to be open to change, and we welcome the fact that Man Booker has joined the Folio Prize in disregarding borders, just as it's also interesting to note the Man Booker International Prize has created an 'e-council' of former Man Booker winners that resembles the Folio Prize Academy.

Almost 200 eminent writers and critics from across the globe have been invited to join the Folio Prize Academy. Five of these are chosen at random each year to form the judging panel, with any chosen member for whom a conflict of interest might exist asked to step aside.

The other members choose a total of 60 books for the five judges to deliberate upon, with the panel also required to call in a further 20 books not put forward by the Academy. The panel chooses its shortlist of eight books from these 80 titles.

With the end of the Folio Society's sponsorship, there will be no award in 2016, but a statement from the organisers in September 2015 said:

As we continue our work to secure a new sponsor for the Folio Prize, we have decided not to run a prize in March 2016. Instead, we are concentrating our resources on another promising development for the spring, while at the same time exploring how the prize might best fulfil its aim of bringing great books to readers in the future. We passionately believe there remains a place for a prize that is, uniquely, run by writers, and we intend to return with a full-scale prize in 2017.

 

 

 

 

2015 Shortlist

10:04
(Hardback)
Ben Lerner
 
From the author of the acclaimed debut Leaving the Atocha Station, here is a dazzling new novel of contemporary New York that will draw you into its tentacle-like embrace and...
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Dept. of Speculation
(Hardback)
Jenny Offill
 
The long-awaited new novel from an LA Times First Fiction Prize finalist, Dept. of Speculation is an annihilating, electrifying account of marriage and motherhood, love and madness
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Dust
(Hardback)
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
 
An audacious and beautiful novel that is both a unique family saga and a spellbinding story of a country
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£16.99
 
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Family Life
(Hardback)
Akhil Sharma
 
For eight-year-old Ajay Mishra and his older brother Birju, family life in Delhi in the late 1970s follows a comfortable, predictable routine: bathing on the roof, queuing for milk, playing...
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Nora Webster
(Paperback)
Colm Toibin
 
It is the late 1960s in Ireland. Nora Webster is living in a small town, looking after her four children, trying to rebuild her life after the death of her...
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£8.99
 
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Previous winners

2015 Family Life by Akhil Sharma

2014 Tenth of December by George Saunders

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