Adam Ash

Your daily entertainment scout. Whatever is happening out there, you'll find the best writing about it in here.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Our own Booker Prize?

Despite the Pulitzer and the National Book Awards, the U.S. does not have a book competition as big, known and debated as Britain’s Man Booker Prize. Now comes The Quills Awards.

It’s easy to sneer at its mercantile pretensions, as one of my favorite book sites, the Literary Saloon, does. But I believe this could be the start of something that’ll give our writers a much-needed boost in prestige and sales. I like the fact that its mission is written in a business-plan style – see below -- a style that may put off literary snobs, but warms my plain-spoken heart.

I also like that it has a prize for Best Book to Film, recognizing what every writer hopes for (the big extra paycheck and, if the film gets made and works, the extra book sales).

Most of all, I like that it’s produced by two hard-headed businesses: (a) Reed Business International, who issues Publishers Weekly, Variety, Library Journal and has more than 75 Web sites, and (b) NBC Universal Television Stations.

This is what this new award says of itself.

“Books -- the most valuable and important vehicles for storytelling and educating -- are generally not celebrated in the way television and movies are heralded.

"That fact inspired the Quills Awards, a consumer-driven celebration of the written word created to inspire reading while promoting literacy.

"The Quills will be awarded in October in a number of categories, including Book of the Year, Children's Book of the Year and 16 other categories, at a ceremony in New York City in October 2005.

"The goals of the Quills are to celebrate excellence in writing and publishing, recognize the creators of important books and great literature, drive revenue for publishers and circulation for libraries, act as a bellwether for literacy initiatives, and create benefits for The Quills Literacy Foundation.

"The Categories are Book of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Book Club Award, Children's Book of the Year, Best Book to Film, Graphic Novel of the Year, Design, Literary Fiction, Suspense/Mystery or Thriller, Science Fiction/Fantasy or Horror, Romance, Biography/Memoir, Religion/Spirituality, Science, Health/Self Improvement, Sports, Business, History/Current Events/Politics.”

What’s not to like?

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