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The Guardian’s view of the guide awards: do not forget the kids | Editorial

The announcement of the Booker Prize longlist this week marks the beginning of the brand new cycle of literary prizes within the UK. The so-called ‘Booker Dozen’ of 13 novels not solely supplies a helpful summer season studying record, however represents the second when readers start to seek out some type within the deluge of titles which can be revealed every year. At practically 190,000 books, Britain’s annual output is the third largest on the planet, after China and the US. So whether or not you’re keen on them or hate them, awards play a giant position in serving to readers discover their method.

The panorama might be completely different subsequent yr, following final month’s sudden and inexplicable announcement that espresso retailer Costa was ditching the Booker’s most important rival for literary status with fast impact. Previously often called the Whitbread Guide Awards, the Costas supplied awards in 5 classes – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, youngsters’s novels and first novels – with an general guide of the yr chosen from the part winners.

In contrast to many different nations, the UK has no state-subsidized guide prizes, making them depending on industrial sponsorship. This has the drawback of leaving them weak to the vagaries of enterprise, nevertheless it has additionally generated a Darwinian vitality: the opposite information this week was that the Rathbones Folio Prize, beforehand a generalist prize in a single part, with winners together with the novelist Colm Tóibín , poet Raymond Antrobus and journalist Richard Lloyd Parry, will trifurcate to breed three of Costa’s sections: poetry, fiction and non-fiction, with an general winner on the finish.

Sadly, this new record omits youngsters’s fiction, together with first novels. Whereas debut fiction is effectively underwritten – a brand new prize was launched this yr by booksellers Waterstones – there might be tears earlier than bedtime on the planet of youngsters’s literature, particularly because it follows scorching on the heels of the 22-year-old’s ax . the previous Blue Peter Awards. Organizers of the Rathbones Folio Prize give two causes for the omission: firstly, that nominations for the prize are made by an “academy” of writers with no experience in youngsters’s books, and secondly, that the hole left by Blue Peters had a has been complemented by the growth of the present Snort Out Loud award.

No quantity of purpose will please the champions of youngsters’s publishing, and with good purpose. There are greater than 300 members of the Rathbones Folio academy, so including just a few youngsters’s authors to the combination would not be a giant deal. By way of the mental panorama of publishing, there’s a higher frustration: for all its significance – and the previous few many years have been a golden age – youngsters’s fiction is simply too typically the Cinderella of publishing.

Philip Pullman, who received the Costa Guide of the 12 months for TheAmber Spyglass third version of His Darkish Supplies trilogy, stated the award was a private game-changer as a result of nobody cared concerning the youngsters’s awards he had beforehand received. Drawing a tie between youngsters’s fiction and the opposite 4 class winners was an announcement concerning the worth of youngsters’s literature, he stated. It isn’t too late for this worth to proceed to be honored so {that a} youngsters’s novel can as soon as once more be celebrated as guide of the yr.

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