Friday, April 22, 2011

Money talks

There have been some changes to the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, thus:

This year five awards will be presented in the following categories: fiction (the Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction); nonfiction (the Nettie Palmer Prize for Nonfiction); poetry (the CJ Dennis Prize for Poetry); drama (the Louis Esson Prize for Drama); and young adult (the Prize for Writing for Young Adults). The winner in each category will receive a cash prize of $25,000. In 2010, the fiction and nonfiction awards were each worth $30,000, while the poetry, drama and young adult fiction awards were each worth $15,000.

Sad as it makes me to admit it, if you attach dollar values to different literary genres then you are sending bright red neon signals about the other, less tangible ways in which they're valued. Sort of like paying women a smaller amount of money to do exactly the same job.

So it's excellent to see that poetry, drama and YA writing are now up there alongside the traditional big guns. Monetary value aside, it's an instant game-changer in that literary genres are now no longer being classified here into first-class and second-class citizens.


Kate said...

so true. Thank you for pointing that out in public.

Stephen L said...

Also interesting to note a change from "young adult fiction" to "writing for young adults."

Last night someone was encouraging me to submit my book for young adult prizes. I said I couldn't remotely imagine it winning, and doubted it was worth the postage, but also noted most seemed to be fiction only.

Still no point me nominating (the bit about "literary merit will be the primary criteria for judging" means there's no way I'd make the short-list, but it is nice to see that a non-fiction writer could now win if they were good enough.

tc said...

Yes, good news indeed, though it would be good if they included children's literature as well. *resists climbing onto soapbox*