Nonfiction Writing Awards

The winner of the UK based and BBC Radio Four sponsored Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction was announced a coupe of days ago: The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale. The author receives £30,000, or $60,000 at today’s crapulous exchange rate. I think this makes it the richest purse for nonfiction in the world. Even the Pultizer prize winners only get a measly $10,000.

Being Brits, the organizers have to hyphenate nonfiction — something I choose not to do as I have been living in the States for nearly ten years now and besides, “non-fiction” just seems so…formal. Plus it puts more emphasis on the components of the word, which makes it seem like a reaction of a genre, defined in opposition to the “true art” of fiction. Am I the only one to hear the implied slur in that, or am I just being over sensitive?

I have actually been looking for an alternative to “nonfiction” for some time. Faction? Reality prose? Both gross — any better suggestions, anyone?

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2 Responses to Nonfiction Writing Awards

  1. [...] take it back. A couple of posts ago I said that the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction was the most lucrative award for fact-based [...]

  2. Abdelwehed says:

    I agree it’s a silly term. But! I think a lot of writers often think that first piuticalbon deal was a “fluke”. Once you have that second, third twelfth? contract, that’s when you sit back and realize it’s not just luck. Maybe you deserved it. Maybe you have talent!At some point, the numbers will be enough to convince any skeptical author that being published can no longer just be luck. So, “multipublished” to me suggests the author is/has worked/working through the idea that first contract wasn’t a fluke. They’re validating themselves to themselves, and/or others. That said, I still think it looks silly. ;)

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