A Selection of Literary Prizes: Background information when reading Weathering

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by Lucy Wood

Weathering by Lucy Wood X
Weathering by Lucy Wood
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2016, 304 pages

    Mar 2017, 304 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
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About this Book

A Selection of Literary Prizes

This article relates to Weathering

Print Review

Lucy Wood, the author of Weathering, won a Somerset Maugham Award, named after the famous author.

What does it take to get a literary prize named after you? Some amount of money and/or influence in the literary world, to be sure, but also a personal connection to the prize being offered and its specific criteria. Here are a few examples of prizes you might not be aware of or might not realize were named after real people.

Somerset Maugham Awards

Recognizing published works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, the Somerset Maugham Awards are available to British writers under the age of 35. Administered by the Society of Authors, the fund was started by novelist W. Somerset Maugham in 1947 to allow young writers "to enrich their work by gaining experience of foreign countries." The prize money must be used as a travel grant. Time spent traveling and living abroad was an important influence on Maugham. He studied in Germany, and lived in Spain and Capri. Maugham traveled through the South Pacific and Asia to research the life of Paul Gauguin for his novel The Moon and Sixpence. Lucy Wood, the author of Weathering, won a Somerset Maugham Award in 2013 on the strength of her first book, the short story collection Diving Belles.

The International Dylan Thomas Prize

The Dylan Thomas Prize, run by Swansea University in poet Dylan Thomas's native Wales, is also aimed at young writers. Lucy Wood was longlisted for the prize in 2012. The prize is open to any published writer in the English language younger than 39, the age at which Thomas died. Previous winners include Joshua Ferris, Claire Vaye Watkins, and Maggie Shipstead. The £30,000 prize has been awarded since 2006. The prize website explains the link to Thomas: "Dylan Thomas, the quintessential adolescent writer, [is] ideally suited to serve as an inspiration to young writers everywhere. The freshness and immediacy of his writing [are] qualities that he never lost. The Prize seeks to ensure that readers today will have the chance to savor the vitality and sparkle of a new generation of young writers."

The Nobel Prize

Alfred Nobel is known for two things: inventing dynamite and funding the series of prizes that bears his name. Especially after his brother Ludwig's 1888 obituary, which read "The merchant of death is dead," Nobel felt his family needed to have a better legacy. The Swedish chemist and engineer was a pacifist. Distressed at the thought of how his explosive invention was used for violent ends, he decided to will his fortune to a foundation that would award monetary prizes for the sciences, peace, and literature. Nobel spoke six languages and wrote a play in Swedish plus some poetry in English, so he had a love for literature in various languages. He died in 1896 and the first literature award was made in 1901.

The Hugo Awards

Named after Hugo Gernsback, these awards have been given to the best science fiction or fantasy works since 1953. They were known as the Science Fiction Achievement Awards until 1992. The World Science Fiction Society organizes the prizes and gives them out at its annual convention, Worldcon. Gernsback, an electronics entrepreneur and science fiction writer born in Luxembourg, was the founder of the first sci-fi magazine, Amazing Stories. Prizes are now given in fifteen categories (ranging from Best Novel to Best Fan Artist), voted for by the members of Worldcon – a very different model, considering that most literary prizes are selected by a judging panel made up of experts.

Filed under Books and Authors

Article by Rebecca Foster

This "beyond the book article" relates to Weathering. It originally ran in January 2016 and has been updated for the March 2017 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

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