The Folio Prize is to launch a two-day fiction festival in March just ahead of the announcement of its first winner.
The festival will include writers and critics drawn from the Folio Academy, with A S Byatt, Sebastian Faulks, Ali Smith, Michael Chabon, Sarah Hall, Lavinia Greenlaw, Pankaj Mishra and Nam Le among those already confirmed for the event.
Prize founder Andrew Kidd said: "The Folio Prize is the very first major award to highlight the very best fiction published in the UK in a given year, regardless of a writer's country of origin or the genre a writer chooses to work within. What better way to amplify the aims of the prize and our sponsor, The Folio Society, than to launch a major international fiction festival featuring the writers on our shortlist, our eminent panel of judges, and members of The Folio Prize Academy."
The festival will be sponsored and presented by The Folio Society in partnership with the British Library and will run over the weekend of 8th and 9th March, ahead of the announcement of the first £40,000 prizewinner on Monday 10th March.
Toby Hartwell, m.d. of The Folio Society, added: “With the Fiction Festival we can celebrate our first Folio Prize shortlist of authors alongside their peers from the Academy. We also welcome wholeheartedly their many fans and readers to join us in celebrating their work, ahead of the announcement of the inaugural winner on 10 March.”
The shortlist for the inaugural award will be announced on 4th February, when the full festival programme will also be revealed.
Meanwhile a number of new writers and critics have joined the Folio Prize Academy, which advises and supports the prize, and from which its judges are drawn. Tash Aw, NoViolet Bulawayo, Neil Gaiman, Maya Jaggi, Andrew O'Hagan, Sam Leith, Ian Rankin, Michele Roberts and Scott Turow are among the freshly announced members.