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International literary prizes flourishing

12 June 2017

The announcement of the winner of the Man Booker International Prize this week highlights again the growing importance of literary prizes in the international book world.

Distinguished Israeli novelist David Grossman and his translator Jessica Cohen are sharing the £50,000 prize equally, following changes in the rules which are intended to give more prominence - and reward - to the work of translators. Grossman is a former winner of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels' annual German Book Trade Peace Prize-often referred to as the Frankfurt Peace Prize-just announced as going this year to Margaret Atwood. Grossman was given that award for his body of work in 2010, the jurors' rationale stating their regard for his efforts in "actively promoting reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians."

One of our links this week is to the announcement about the winner of the £37,000 Griffin International Poetry Prize, Alice Oswald, a British poet who was also short-listed for the 2016 T S Eliot Prize.

Most literary prizes require that the submission should have been published by a publisher, who makes the submission, and specifically exclude self-published work. Sadly, an example of this is the Cundhill History Prize, which is for $75,000 US, and which closes on 16 June.

Things have changed from the time when only the Booker Prize, as it then was, had any real international visibility and now writers from across the world can enter a widening group of prizes, many of which are open to self-published writers. See our Writing Opportunities for an up-to-date list of some of the best.