A big piece of news in the world of literary prizes this past week was the announcement that Baileys – the drinks company – has decided to forego sponsoring the annual Women’s Prize for Fiction beyond 2017. The award will subsequently be renamed when a new sponsor takes the reins of what was previously also called the Orange Prize.
In other book news:
In response to the Trump administration’s Muslim ban policy, and the executive order issued at the weekend prohibiting nationals from specific countries entering the United States, authors have spoken out and shown solidarity with the many protestors railing against the ban. Malorie Blackman, the UK’s former children’s laureate, and author Matt Haig have taken a stand by refusing to travel to the US while the travel ban is still in place, and by refusing to accept invitations to US-based literary events.
Also as a result of Trump’s presidency and the use of the term ‘alternative facts’ by Trump’s advisor Kellyanne Conway, there has been a sudden surge in sales of George Orwell’s 1984. The classic dystopian novel features the terms ‘newspeak’ and ‘doublethink’, in the story of a society fed tightly controlled, manipulated and conflicting propaganda as a way to confuse the masses and strengthen the regime of the totalitarian Big Brother.
In brighter news, the Wellcome Book Prize, which celebrates science writing in both fiction and non-fiction, has now released a longlist of authors for the 2017 award. The longlist can be viewed here, and the winner will be announced in March.