Britain has gone awards-mad. Maybe I'll finally win one nowby Andrew Martin / June 29, 2008 / Leave a comment
Published in June 2008 issue of Prospect Magazine
The strangest cultural development of recent years has been the growth in the giving and receiving of awards across all areas of endeavour. There has been very little critical coverage of this, presumably because most of the publications that might provide such coverage run awards of their own.
I tried to locate some sort of overview by means of an internet search, but my keywords were not up to the job. “Culture of award-giving” yielded only numerous awards for culture. “The giving of awards” threw up “The Giving Nation Awards.” “The growth in awards” produced “The Fast Growth Business awards” run by “Growing Business” magazine.
In my own profession, the writing of fiction, there is always an award in the news. Right now, it’s the Orange prize for women’s fiction—won this year by Rose Tremain. Journalists need events to justify unleashing their pontifications, and the giving of a prize, it seems, constitutes one. The trick is so universally practised that authors are frequently asked, “What awards have you won?”, and the term “critically acclaimed” has given way to “award-winning.” Not, unfortunately, in my case: I’m still stuck on “critically acclaimed.” But I have recently learned that I have been shortlisted for an award to be given in July by the Crime Writers’ Association.