UPDATE: The Folio Society announced that it would sponsor the new “Literature Prize”, which will now be called The Folio Prize, The Bookseller reports. The Society has also formed a Folio Academy — a literary who’s who of 110 authors and critics including Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, and Junot Díaz — that will judge the awards. All 110 judges won’t be judging at the same time. The judging and selection process will work as follows:
The inaugural award will be presented in March 2014 for books published in the UK between 1st January and 31st December 2013, written originally in English from authors anywhere around the globe, and published in any form or from any genre.
The Academy will choose 60 titles, and then pick an additional 20 books from publisher nominations. The five judges of the prize will be Academy members, and will be drawn by lots in July. The panel must include three members from the UK, and two from outside the UK, and there must be no more than three members of the same gender. Five names will be drawn randomly from the two groups alternately, starting with those from the UK.
The selected judges then choose a shortlist of eight books, which will be announced in February 2014.
UPDATE: Suzy Lucas has been named the prize administrator. The Bookseller reports that Lucas is “formerly literature consultant to the BFI’s Film Fund and before that a scout at Anne-Louise Fisher Associates.”
Simply called “The Literature Prize”, the £40,000 pot is not restricted to authors from a certain country or a particular genre as with other such prizes like the Man Booker and Caine Prizes. According to The Bookseller, “The sole criterion will be excellence,” organizers of the UK prize said. Founded by Aitken Alexander and agent Andrew Kidd, the advisory committee to the prize features industry heavyweights including Zadie Smith’s agent Georgia Garrett and legendary publisher William Heinemann. The first prize will be awarded in March 2014 to a book published between January and December 2013.