The British book Awards is hosted by, none other than Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan of Richard and Judy club, sponsored by Galaxy Chocolates. Upon reading the booklet, I found there are numerous awards in the Galaxy British Book Awards:
- Play.com Non-fiction Award
- Sainsbury’s Popular Fiction Award
- Borders Author of the Year
- Waterstone’s New writer of the Year
- Richard & Judy’s Best Read of the Year
- Tesco Biography of the Year
- Books direct Crime Thriller of the Year
- WH Smith Children’s Book of the year
- Outstanding Achievement Award.
It is going to be an Oscar night for writers, women shrouded with long glittering long gowns and the men in black tuxedos, a black tie affair. It will be a glamourous event for writers and a boost to the publicity of sponsors business all in the name of literature and literacy. I thought the whole thing is so awesome.
Some of the better known book awards in the UK (based on my limited knowledge) also includes:
- Winifred Holtby Prize
- Cheltenham Prize
- Whitbread Book of the Year
- The Orange Prize – Orange (a telco company in the UK, not related to any Orange festivals!)
At the rate this is going, books published in the UK, with the help of a good book agency, would be short-listed or long-listed by some of these prestigious and less prestigious awards. I thought it is a great way to promote reading and the book industry, and wish we would have more of that back home in Malaysia. One note to highlight is that this event and reading culture did not get to this stage overnight. Reading is very entrenched in the UK, public libraries are accessible, stocked with the latest books. This is against a backdrop of adult literacy rate in the UK hovering under 86% (16% are under the Level expected of an 11-year-old (national curriculum levels 3-4) see http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/database/stats/adultstats.html)) The people who really reads in the UK, reads with rigour. Reading groups are organised, reading notes are distributed, forum and sharing of book ideas are frequent.
It is a commendable effort. A coordinated effort between book publishers, writers, book sellers and book lovers. At the rate this is going, every book published in the UK, with the help of an established publisher, that went up to the bestseller’s list will be honoured as prize winner or shortlisted one way or another. Even if it doesn’t, the book will be sold throughout the English speaking world with a wider target audience. There are many prizes up for grabs and I wish the writers in the shortlisted list good luck (except for a few, see postscript). May the best writer win!
p/s: I am not a big fan of chit list and and I don’t care if Marian Keyes, Elizabeth Noble or Cecilia Ahern, or biographies of spoilt celebrities in the spotlight, wins. I do hope Barack Obama “Dreams from my father” would win though, it will be amusing to have an American president who also wins the Tesco Biography of the Year award. 8)
To know more and cast your vote before 28th March 2009, see: