If we salute everyone, then we risk rewarding no one, writes a judge for next year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction
Apparently it’s now terribly unfashionable to be a winner. At last week’s Turner prize, the nominees got together and declared that none of them wanted to win. Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Tai Shani and Oscar Murillo wrote to the prize organisers to say they wanted to make a “collective statement” at a time when there was “already so much that divides and isolates people and communities”. The £40,000 prize money was split equally between them.
This is turning into something of a trend. In August, when Olivia Laing, author of debut novel Crudo, won the James Tait Black prize for fiction, she announced in her winning speech that she was sharing the £10,000 with her fellow nominees because “competition has no place in art”. In October, Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo were jointly awarded the £50,000 Booker prize even though the organisers had explicitly told the judging panel that they were not allowed to choose two winners. The Bad Sex in Fiction award was also shared between Didier Decoin and John Harvey because “there was no separating the winners”. (Which, weirdly enough, sounds like the definition of good sex to me but never mind.)Continue reading…