Orna Ross, the director of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), has won the best novel award at the inaugural Carousel-Aware Prize (CAP) for independent publishing.
Ross won for her novel, Her Secret Rose, a literary-historical novel about the love affair between W B Yeats and Maud Gonne.
The novel was first made available as part of the crowd-funded Secret Rose project, a double-book tribute to W B Yeats for #Yeats2015, containing both Ross’ novel, Her Secret Rose and Yeats’s collection of short stories, The Secret Rose, in a specially crafted replica of his original 1897 publication.
Ross said: "It feels fitting. W B Yeats was a self-publisher himself, being the editor of the printing press his sisters ran, Cuala Press, and using that press to produce many of his most famous works.
“I am thrilled Her Secret Rose has won and to know that the book will be in all the major bookshops for Christmas. I’m also thrilled about how this award will help further the self-publishing movement in Ireland. From long before Yeats's time up to the contemporary Booker prize-winner Roddy Doyle and beyond, self-publishing has been an important pathway to publication.”
Discussing awards schemes open for self-published authors, Ross said that there are manyf schemes starting up that are "problematic" as they are simply "money-making schemes" that charge high entry fees, ahve self-appointed judges and "offer nothing in the way of anything useful." This award, in contrast, is different as it is not-for-profit, with money raised through entry fees going to mental health charity Aware, and a bookshop distribution for the print edition of the book as its prize.
Ross told The Bookseller that she would like to see the main award schemes and prizes open up to self-published authors.
The new Carousel-Aware Prize awards aim to provide a platform for Irish self-published authors, bringing them to the attention of book shops, distributors and the media in Ireland and abroad.
CAP organiser Carolann Copland said: “Self-publishing is changing the face of publishing worldwide and we think that Ireland could do with a little nudge to help it along.”
The CAP prize aligns with ALLi’s Open Up To Indie Authors campaign for a "more inclusive book world". The ongoing campaign intends to encourage and aid literary events, festivals, prizes, reviewers, booksellers and other interested parties in finding ways to include self-publishing authors in their programs, events, listings and reviews.