As regular readers of this blog will know, I was honoured to be one of the judges for the inaugural Guardian Hot Key Books Young Writers Prize – click here for more info on the prize and here for my post about the winning novels. I am now equally delighted to announce that I will be a member of the judging panels for the 2013 Kitschies, specifically for the Red Tentacle Award for the best novel of 2013 and the Golden Tentacle Award for the best debut.
If you’re not aware of them, the Kitschies are a quartet of awards given out annually to reward the ‘most progressive, intelligent and entertaining works that contain elements of the speculative or fantastic.’ In addition to the two awards that I will be helping to judge, they also give out an Inky Tentacle for the best cover design of the year, and a Black Tentacle, which is a special award given at the discretion of the Kitschies board. The awards were founded by Jared Shurin and Anne Perry, the creators and editors of Pornokitsch, one of the best blogs you’ll read, and two people who I have got to know pretty well over the last couple of years – in addition to the Kitschies, and their actual real-life jobs, they also founded Jurassic London, an independent press publishing some of the very finest limited edition anthologies around which Jared continues to run – I had a novella in the most recent collection, A Town Called Pandemonium, and working with him was an utter pleasure. As a result, when he asked me to come on board as a judge, I didn’t hesitate.
Well, that’s not true at all, actually. I hesitated a LOT.
Last year publishers submitted more than 210 titles for consideration for the various Kitschies, and there is every reason to suspect the number will be even higher this year. I have the fourth Department 19 novel to write this year, my girlfriend and I are in the final stages of buying a house, which will then need moving into and decorating and work doing to it and all that other fun stuff, I owe two short stories to people, I’m trying to finish two very different screenplays, and my workload last year landed me in a doctor’s office unable to breathe properly.
So yeah, I hesitated. But I found I couldn’t bring myself to turn the offer down. Partly because I was honoured to be asked (Jared and Anne know EVERYONE and have ruthlessly high standards for everything they do!) but mostly because I’m a great believer in what the Kitschies stand for – celebrating the best in speculative fiction, regardless of trends, politics, publishers, canvassing, bloc voting, or anything else. The best books of the year, according to the judges who have been chosen for the year in question – no more, no less.
So – the announcement has been made, SUBMISSIONS ARE OFFICIALLY OPEN, and my fellow judges (a truly fantastic lineup consisting of Nick Harkaway (the winner of last year’s Red Tentacle for Angelmaker), Kate Griffin, Anab Jain and Annabel Wright – more info here) and I are ready to start reading.
Bring it on.