The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses is moving into its third year with a major new sponsor, the University of East Anglia (UEA), whose MA Creative Writing students will also have a single bloc vote on the 2019 Prize judging panel.
The purpose of the prize, founded in 2016 by author Neil Griffiths, is to reward "literary fiction of the highest order" published by small presses of five full-time paid employees or fewer.
Last year £12,500 was awarded to six small presses, with the winning publisher Influx Press for Eley Williams' Attrib. and other stories receiving £5,000 (£3,000 to the publisher, £2,000 to the author) whilst runner-ups Les Fugitives, Little Island Press, Charco Press, Dostoevsky Wannabe and Galley Beggar Press each received £1,500.
This year, although the specific amount in the prize pot has yet to be confirmed, UEA is said to have contributed "the largest amount yet" to the prize fund, with Griffiths confirming "a minimum of £12,000" will be up for grabs.
UEA, whose involvement is linked to its MA Creative Writing course, will host the shortlist announcement in March as part of a day-long symposium on small presses and contemporary fiction. Three students from UEA are also taking part in the judging process, representing a single vote.
Joining them on the judging panel, hoped by organisers to be "wonderfully argumentative", will be Catherine Taylor, a contributor to Guardian Review, FT Life & Arts, New Statesman, The Economist, Irish Times and the TLS, who is currently working on a cultural memoir of Sheffield in the 1970s and 80s; author and freelancer David Collard, a champion of experimental writing and small independent presses who has a bi-monthly column in The Idler magazine dedicated to both; and Niven Govinden, the author of four novels to date, most recently the Folio Prize-longlisted All The Days And Nights (The Friday Project), with his next novel This Brutal House due to be published by Dialogue Books in spring 2019.
"Please note that this year the Man Booker Longlist didn’t include a single small press – just saying," read the Prize's notice, announcing it is now open for submissions, adding: "We are thrilled that our partnership with the TLS continues and thank them for all their support."
Submissions close on 30th November 2018. The announcement of the longlist will be on 21st January 2019 and of the shortlist on 2nd March 2019. The winner will be revealed late March 2019.
By March 2019, in the space of three years, the Prize will have supported 15 small presses and 20 writers from across the country with over £30,000.
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