The ACT Government will look at ways to improve the ACT Book of the Year prize to give shortlisted and winning authors more opportunities to promote their success, Minister for the Arts Joy Burch said today.
“In my discussions with the arts community about the Book of the Year prize, it has become clear to me that this much-loved award could be better promoted,” Ms Burch said.
“I am interested in hearing ideas about how to build a real sense of excitement and momentum between announcing the shortlist and awarding the prize to the winner.
“Some of the ideas put forward include a popular vote for a ‘People’s Award’ alongside the official winner, promoting the shortlisted books through ACT Libraries, and producing reading notes on the books for use by book clubs.
“These ideas will be considered as part of the regular review of the ACT’s arts policy currently being undertaken by artsACT.
“While this review is underway, I have also decided to defer changes that were due to come into effect for this year’s prize, limiting eligibility to ACT residents. In the past 15 years, the ACT Book of the Year has only been won once by a non-resident, and nominations from regional writers are rare.
“Artists from the immediate region make a valuable contribution to the Canberra arts sector, and have an emotional connection to it. These issues, alongside the standard of nominations we receive for the 2014 prize, will be considered as we look at ways to improve the award in future years.”
The $10,000 cash prize is open to books published in the calendar year 2013 by authors living in the ACT or those who can demonstrate a strong connection to the ACT. Nominations close this Friday, 1 August.