Last week, during a ceremony at the British Library in London, the Folio Society announced the launch of a new literature prize worth forty thousand pounds, or roughly sixty thousand dollars.
The Folio Prize will be given annually for books of literary fiction, regardless of form or genre, written in English by an author from any country and published in the United Kingdom during the previous calendar year. The inaugural prize will be awarded in 2014.
Led by prize cofounder Andrew Kidd, a literary agent and former publisher of Picador/Macmillan, the advisory committee gathered over a hundred authors, editors, and critics from around the world to form the Folio Academy, from which a panel of five judges will be selected each year. The Folio Society—a London–based publisher that reissues classic works of literature in illustrated special editions—was announced as the prize’s sponsor earlier this year.
Academy members include Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee; Booker Prize recipients Margaret Atwood, Peter Carey, Ian McEwan, Michael Ondaatje, and Salman Rushdie; critics Geoff Dyer and Elif Batuman; Granta editor John Freeman, n+1 editor Keith Gessen, and New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman; American authors Michael Chabon, Michael Cunningham, Bret Easton Ellis, Junot Díaz, Ben Lerner, Richard Powers, Alice Sebold, and Maria Semple; and international writers Nam Le, China Mieville, David Mitchell, Philip Pullman, Zadie Smith, Miguel Syjuco, Colm Toibin, and Jeanette Winterson.
The panel of judges will consider eighty books each year for the prize. The Academy will nominate sixty titles (each member is encouraged to nominate up to three titles per year); publishers will also be invited to nominate titles, from which twenty additional finalists will be chosen. The panel will select a shortlist of eight books, and the final winner will be announced in the spring. The judges for the first Folio Prize will be announced this summer, and the inaugural winner will be announced in March 2014.
To watch a video from the launch and for more information, visit the Folio Prize website.