This week a new literary prize has emerged. It all started when the Man Booker long list was announced and a friend of mine, the writer Paul Magrs, whose review of Murder in Steeple Martin can be found through a link in a previous post, asked why there wasn't a prize for gay male fiction called (ahem) The Man Fooker Prize. Twitter took it up in a mild way, I of course, thinking it was a great idea, and then Paul said "You'll be a judge, won't you, Lesley?" And suddenly, it was real.
Over the week, Simon Savidge, London editor of Bent Magazine and a fellow judge, got together a website, Paul, Simon, I and Nick Campbell, the fourth judge, worked on getting the name out there and asking publishers and publications to back us. We began to get a cautious response, but, surprise, surprise, we uncovered a hitherto unsuspected nervousness among publishers. There were many reasons why, eventually, we were brought to accept that if we wanted the award to succeed, we needed to change the name. So we did. In a nod to the great Wilde it has been renamed ‘The Green Carnation Prize’. I am, naturally, very thrilled to be part of this, although my reading plans, especially when I'm on holiday in Turkey, will be severely compromised! Please, if you read my blog, put the word about. We will announce the winner, probably in London, on December 1st, World Aids Day. Watch this space!