#SYP101: Do Book Awards Make a Difference?


Book awards are everywhere and seem to have been around forever. They reward individual works, or lifetime achievements; they can be based on form, content or genre; writers are eligible based on gender, nationality or ethnicity. But what do we really know about the ins and outs of these myriad celebrations of authors, publishers and their works?

With so many awards out there these days we’re curious to have a chat about the actual impact seen by publishers, authors and others. Winning (or being nominated for) an award seems to bring with it a variety of advantages in terms of money and prestige. On the surface it might seem like a truly wonderful part of the publishing industry, but is there more to it and should we be questioning existing and emerging awards more than we currently are?

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The chair:

Dr Stevie Marsden

Dr Stevie Marsden completed her AHRC funded PhD ‘The Saltire Society Literary Awards, A Cultural History: 1936-2015’ in October 2016. She was recently appointed as Research Associate at CAMEo, the University of Leicester’s Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies. Her research interests include literary award culture, gender, publishing and the creative economies.

The panel:
Robert Davidson – Sandstone Press


Robert Davidson is founder and Managing Director of Sandstone Press Ltd. Many of the company’s titles books have won or been listed for literary prizes including the Man Booker, Commonwealth, Petrona, Arthur C Clarke, Saltire Society, Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, Not the Booker, and Desmond Elliott Awards. Sandstone Press Ltd was Saltire Society Publisher of the Year 2014.

Heather Collins – Scottish Book Trust


Heather Collins studied English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. After working as a children’s bookseller she joined Scottish Book Trust in 2009. For the past three years she has been their Schools Programme Manager, delivering various flagship programmes from Authors Live, a series of online broadcasts produced in partnership with BBC Scotland, to the Bookbug Picture Book Prize and Scottish Teenage Book Prize.

Gráinne Clear – Little Island Books

Gráinne Clear works as Publishing Manager and Art Director for Little Island Books, an independent children’s publisher based in Dublin. She is responsible for editorial, design and publicity, as well as the many other things that keep a small publisher ticking over. After completing an MPhil in Children’s Literature in Trinity College Dublin, she wrote and presented two children’s literature series for RTE Radio, became president of IBBY Ireland and a board member of Publishing Ireland. Gráinne also works as a freelance storyteller for children and adults.

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