Prize for Innovative Small Press Publishing Goes to Fitzcarraldo

Republic of Consciousness prize won by John Keene’s Counternarratives

The inaugural Republic of Consciousness prize — set up to reward innovative independent publishers — has been awarded to British press Fitzcarraldo for their publication of American author John Keene’s collection Counternarratives. Citing the work’s formal inventiveness, the six judge panel unanimously awarded Keene and Firzcarraldo the £3,000 prize. The £1,000 runner-up prizes went to Tramp Press for Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones, And Other Stories for Anakana Schofield’s Martin John, and Galley Beggar for Paul Stanbridge’s Forbidden Line. All winners have been encouraged to give a third of the proceeds to the winning authors.

Unlike many larger awards, the Republic of Consciousness does not require publishers to pay an entry fee. The prize says their criteria is “perfectly expressed on the Galley Beggar website as ‘hardcore literary fiction and gorgeous prose’.” British novelist Neil Griffiths began establishing the prize last year, donating £3,000 of his own money and fundraising the remaining £4,000. Speaking with The Guardian, Griffiths commented “the small presses are still struggling for that shop window…publishing requires high-end commercial novels and niche novels, even if they don’t sell millions.”

Looking hopefully to the future of Republic of Consciousness, Griffith’s expects corporate sponsorship to “double, if not triple, the prize fund.”

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