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A new prize will award $150,000 to a female novelist every year.

Dan Sheehan

February 7, 2020, 10:13am

Here’s some welcome news on this dreary Friday morn: starting in 2022, the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction, a new annual prize named after the beloved and prolific novelist who died in 2003, will award a whopping $150,000 for a work of fiction published in the previous year by a woman or nonbinary person.

“We wanted to go big on it so that people paid attention,” said Canadian novelist Susan Swan, who, after looking into the research about how female writers compared with male ones when it came to literary prizes and coverage, teamed up with Janice Zawerbny and an anonymous corporate donor to establish the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction.

The sheer size of the winner’s purse (and the fact that each of the four finalists will receive $12,500) should propel the Carol Shields Prize to the top tier of literary awards. As the New York Times reports:

“It is a sum that dwarfs the prize money for literary awards such as the Booker Prize (50,000 pounds, roughly $65,000), the Pulitzer Prize for fiction ($15,000) and the National Book Award ($10,000). The Nobel Prize for literature is one exception, with laureates receiving nearly $1 million.”

[via The New York Times]

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