Words From Our 2013 Winner, Andrew Solomon

Yesterday we announced the news that Andrew Solomon had won the Green Carnation Prize 2013 with Far From The Tree,  which the judges have been in unanimous admiration of as an exceptional book.

Heard the news of his win Andrew said “I am profoundly honored and utterly thrilled to have won this prize.  When I was born, it was a crime, a sin, and a mental illness to be gay; now it is an identity, and a much celebrated one at that, as the very existence of this prize clearly demonstrates.  My book is about how we can use that shift, of which gay people today are the fortunate beneficiaries, as a model for helping others with stigmatized differences to find dignity in them.  I believe with all my heart in a prize that celebrates the particular contributions of gay literature, and that recognizes that human diversity, like species diversity, is necessary to sustain the world as we know and love it.  I am delighted to play any part in putting forward that idea, and I thank the judges with all my heart.”

We have nothing we can add to that wonderfully humbling statement. Once again thank you to the judges and for the publishers and authors who entered for the prize this year. We will be back in the spring of 2014, until then we hope we leave you with many great books to read over the months ahead.

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The Winner of The Green Carnation Prize 2013

Andrew Solomon is the latest author to win the Green Carnation Prize with ‘Far From The Tree’ a book about exceptional children which celebrates what it means to be human in all its diversity.

This years judges were unanimous in their praise for the book, Chair of the judges for 2013, Uli Lenart of Gays the Word, described it as “A work of extraordinary humanity. Life affirming, insightful and profoundly moving. Andrew Solomon continuously makes you reassess what you think. An opus of diversity, resilience and acceptance; Far From The Tree is a book that has the power to make the World a better place.”

Andrew Solomon joins previous winners.

Andrew Solomon joins previous winners.

Fellow judge Kerry Hudson, who was shortlisted for the prize in 2012, said “In the way that the best literature does, Far from The Tree gives access to different worlds and in doing so will change the way you look at things forever. It informs, inspires, moves and entertains. It is the sort of book that makes you grateful to have found it and that remains a gift for a lifetime.”

For more information contact greencarnationprize@gmail.com You can follow the prize on Twitter and Facebook in preparation for next year and get all the latest news.

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The Green Carnation Prize Shortlist 2013…

With subjects from the abolition of death in Civil War 1836 to dysfunctional families in modern America; from marital breakdowns to crime and conspiracy over continents; from transvestites in London to tolerance in modern times, it seems that this year’s Green Carnation Prize shortlist has shown once again just what diverse list of titles the prize can produce.

Chair of the judges for 2013, Uli Lenart of Gays the Word, said “The Green Carnation Prize 2013 Shortlist scintillates, satisfies and inspires. The judging panel felt it was these six books that most thoroughly fulfilled our criteria of originality, excellence, readability and resonance.”

Green Carnation Shortlist 2013

Green Carnation Shortlist 2013

  • Gob’s Grief – Chris Adrian (Granta Books)
  • Black Bread White Beer – Niven Govinden (The Friday Project)
  • May We Be Forgiven – A. M. Homes (Granta)
  • The Kills – Richard House (Picador)
  • Fanny & Stella – Neil McKenna (Faber and Faber)
  • Far From The Tree – Andrew Solomon (Chatto & Windus)

Fellow judge, author Kerry Hudson who was on the shortlist in 2012, said “Our longlist showcased an incredibly diverse range of subject and form but what all the books had in common was excellence. This shortlist could quite easily have been nine or ten books long. Each and every judge had a favourite that they fought hard for which had to make way for another book was not able to be shortlisted. However, we feel this shortlist really represents the very best of an extraordinary longlist of books.”

The winner will be announced in two weeks on the 19th of November. You can find out more about the shortlist on our Shortlist 2013 page.

You can follow the prize on Twitter and Facebook

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The Green Carnation Prize Longlist 2013…

With a list that includes the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013 winner, three novels long-listed for this year’s Man Booker Prize and a diverse mix of fiction, memoir, poetry and non-fiction could this year’s Green Carnation Prize longlist be the strongest and most eclectic mix yet?

Chair of the judges for 2013, Uli Lenart of Gays the Word, said “Typically the chair of judges begins by saying how difficult the decision-making process has been. While it was far from easy – especially towards the end when we had to cut some very well written books – it was this list of exceptional books that revealed themselves. The panel of judges worked together extraordinarily well and I am sure I speak for all when I say that the 2013 Green Carnation longlist is impressively strong. Each of these twelve books enriches the reader in its own unique way. Huge congratulations, and indeed thanks, go to the longlisted authors for creating these books. Please do read them all.”

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This years twelve long listed titles are…

  • Gob’s Grief – Chris Adrian (Granta Books)
  • Five Star Billionaire – Tash Aw (4th Estate)
  • Maggie & Me – Damian Barr (Bloomsbury)
  • Environmental Studies – Maureen Duffy (Enitharmon)
  • Fallen Land – Patrick Flanery (Atlantic Books)
  • Black Bread White Beer – Niven Govinden (The Friday Project)
  • The Sea Inside – Philip Hoare (4th Estate)
  • May We Be Forgiven – A. M. Homes (Granta)
  • The Kills – Richard House (Picador)
  • Fanny & Stella – Neil McKenna (Faber and Faber)
  • Almost English – Charlotte Mendelson (Mantle Books)
  • Far From The Tree – Andrew Solomon (Chatto & Windus)

For more information on all the long listed titles head to our Longlist 2013 page. The shortlist for the Green Carnation Prize 2013 will be announced on Tuesday the 5th of November 2013.

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The Green Carnation Prize 2013 Criteria…

All the submissions for The Green Carnation Prize 2013 are now in and somewhere in each of the judges homes is the winner of The Green Carnation 2013, yet how will the judges reach that decision?

This year’s Green Carnation Prize judges have confirmed their criteria for selecting the 2013 award for LGBT writing. Chair of judges Uli Lenart said: ‘It has been an illuminating process outlining exactly what we think makes an award-winning book and for the judges to discuss and clarify the four key qualities we are looking for.” Here he explains more about that process and the panel’s criteria:

How does a person set about the task of judging a literary prize? Or a book for that matter? Indeed, is that even possible or appropriate? Isn’t judging, after all, something we shouldn’t do? Nevertheless the truth is we all judge, and we do so continuously. It is, in fact, a process on which civilized society is founded: the discernment of what it is that we esteem. It is what art and culture are all about: “I love that painting” or “I like how she writes, but I never really got to care about the characters…” We are always sifting, searching for gems to cherish.

Yet, just as we embark on our mission to select books we think worthy of recognition, we arrive, inevitably, at the issue of personal taste: subjectivity. We all like different things. That said, the virtue of judging on a literary prize is that you have a panel of peers with whom you face and explore that mountain of books. But what, collectively, are we looking for? What elements in the way a writer constructs their narrative, creates a sense of tone, or uses language, are we actually searching for? With this in mind, the judges discussed and ratified our criteria for the 2013 Green Carnation Prize. This is what we settled on…

The Criteria:

ORIGINALITY – EXCELLENCE – READABILITY – RESONANCE

ORIGINALITY – we are excited about the prospect of finding something fresh, something innovative, something different. It could be the subject-matter selected, the author’s treatment of it, the way in which they use words to create an inventive new appreciation of the nature of an emotion, or of an issue. We like the idea of a work with its own individual identity that creates something new and eccentrically itself.

EXCELLENCE- this sounds like a grand and noble aspiration but is, in fact, rather inexact and, again, subjective. But excellence is what we are looking for none-the-less. Excellence in the craft of writing, composition, form, story-telling, plotting, of interrogating the material. Every decision about how writing is constructed has an effect; forms the nuance of a meaning. We are looking for writing that executes this with intelligence and artistry, and a writer who varies and sustains this throughout the different landscapes of their narrative.

READABILITY – we appreciate literature that flows, that is a pleasure to read, that sustains the reader’s attention; that absorbs and involves you so you hardly notice yourself turning the pages. We are talking about fluidity, believability, tension, excitement, drive. Ideas can, and should, challenge us but the process of reading, we feel, is to be enjoyed.

RESONANCE – now this is a slightly delicate criterion. It does not mean that a book is guaranteed to resonate with you, but that it should resonate with itself; to articulate its themes as well as its meaning vibrantly, vividly and beautifully. The judges had initially discussed using the criteria ‘emotivity’ – we wanted to find writing that we felt as well as understood. But how can you apply this to non-fiction? So it is resonance we are looking for, in conjunction with the other criteria.

I suppose the pink elephant in the room is the fact that the Green Carnation is a prize that specifically celebrates the work of LGBT writers. Would it not make sense therefore to look for something quintessentially queer? Even if that quality does exist, the Green Carnation is not a prize for writing with just LGBT content or themes. It is a prize that celebrates the incredible contribution of LGBT people to our (everyone’s) collective treasure-trove of excellent writing. That said, work by LGBT writers could be argued to share a certain sensibility, a certain quality, an independence of perspective or sensitivity, perhaps. It isn’t really good to generalise, but – much like judging, we all do it a bit, don’t we?

Uli Lenart

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The Green Carnation Prize 2013; New Judges and Submission Guidelines…

Monday 25th of February 2013, 1400hrs

We are delighted to finally reveal the full judging panel for The Green Carnation Prize 2013. The judges are Christopher Bryant, editor of Polari Magazine; Sarah Henshaw, barge based bookseller and writer; Kerry Hudson, author and Clayton Littlewood, journalist and author. The judges will be chaired by Uli Lenart, bookseller and Events, Press and Online Development Manager at Gay’s the Word.

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The prize is now open for submissions, which this year have changed to ‘catch some of the books we noticed missed due to proofs not being available at the end of previous submission guideline dates’ said Simon Savidge, Honorary Director of the prize, ‘though alas longlisted titles that fall into the new submission dates will not be eligible.’ The new dates are books published, for the first time in the UK, between September the 31st 2012 and October the 1st 2013. For more information on the submission details you can visit their dedicated page here, for more information on the judging panel for 2012 you can visit the ‘Judges 2013’ page here.

So the Green Carnation Prize 2013 is now officially open.

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The Green Carnation Prize is Back…

Yes, the Green Carnation prize is back for its fourth year in 2013. With new submission guidelines, new judges and, of course, a new logo this year looks set to be another great year that will see the prize going from strength to strength.

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Simon Savidge, co-founder and Honorary Director of the prize, said ‘I think this year will see the prize turn itself up a notch, it’s going to be more interactive, theres going to be more events and I am looking forward to watching it all unfold.’ This year will be the first year Simon leaves the judging panel, which he has been on for the last three years ‘I wanted to take more of a behind the scenes role, the prize needs sponsorship and this year my role is to get that sorted and I have some exciting meetings planned ahead. I also didn’t want the prize to look like a vanity project, though now I know who all the judges are I am slightly kicking myself I won’t be joining in with them. I will just have to read-a-long and join in at the judges meetings anyway, ha. Seriously though, I also want to look at how the prize can bring LGBT literature from before the prize was thought of to the fore and see how the history and heritage of LGBT writing of all kinds can be celebrated and enjoyed again. It is all exciting stuff.’

Monday the 25th of February will see the official launch of the prize announcing the five all new judges and all new submission guidelines. Watch out for more details then…

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