British novelist Neil Griffiths has pledged £2,000 for a new award to support literature published by small presses in Britain and Ireland. Griffiths hopes to attract similar investments from other literary authors in an attempt to celebrate "small presses producing brilliant and brave literary fiction."
The "Republic of Consciousness" prize will be issued each year based on two criteria: "hardcore literary fiction and gorgeous prose."
The prize money, which Griffiths hopes will equal £10,000 each year after he "guilt trips" other authors into contributing, will be split equally between the author and the publisher.
A shortlist of five novels will be decided each December by Griffiths in conjunction with five independent booksellers. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in January.
Griffiths praised small publishers for "doing it often for the love of super-niche books, whether they're in translation, or highly literary... Small presses don't ask how many copies will this sell, but how good is this - what is its value as literature? Quality is the only criterion."