The Weird-ass Picture Book Awards and other literary accolades you'd rather not win

Not up for the Costa? Don't worry there's plenty others to choose from

A search for Britain’s best work of literature reaches its conclusion tomorrow night with the announcement of the Costa Book of the Year. Winners in the novel, first novel, poetry, biography and children’s categories will produce a book of books, the author of which will receive £30,000 plus a sales boost potentially worth much more.

Hilary Mantel is favourite to take the prize with Bring Up the Bodies, and needs no introduction. But for writers of lesser renown, for whom Costa is a place to slave away behind a laptop fuelled by coffee and dreams of making it, there are a growing number of alternative routes to recognition, not all of them flattering.

These are the literary prizes you’ve probably never heard of, but in some cases might stand a chance of winning, whether you want to or not. A host of quirky prizes, including those which aren’t exactly complimentary, join a flourishing scene of genre, regional, and decidedly niche gongs. Could you name the last winner of the Weird-ass Picture Book Awards? (It was Cowboy and Octopus, by Jon Scieszka.)

“Even at a time when people are decrying the state of the book industry, more and more titles are being published in more and more ways,” says Alysoun Owen, the editor of the Writers & Artists’ Yearbook. “There are also more and more ways of acknowledging the people writing them.”

Owen says the Yearbook adds several new prizes, including six this year, to its definitive annual list of hundreds of awards, including the Costa and the £50,000 Man Booker Prize, arguably the biggest in UK fiction (current holder: Hilary Mantel).

While awards can provide huge financial boosts, some of which may even reach the author, Owen says all but the silliest prizes are just as important for their recognition of writers.

“Olympians get their medals and what we’re saying is that being creative enough to write a book is jolly difficult and we’re happy to acknowledge those who do it very well,” she says.

Owen has observed a marked growth, too, in the number of awards for short stories, self-published books and works by young and first-time novelists. If there is one demographic not swept up in this prize-giving tide, however, it’s older writers.

“There is a proliferation of awards encouraging young writers,” she says. “But there aren’t particularly many for people over 50 or 60.” You can bet someone’s working on it.

Unusual literary awards:

Shorty Award

Tweets win prizes in the awards for works of 140 characters

Weird-ass picture book awards

For books whose “strangeness reaches new heights of art and storytelling”.

Diagram prize for oddest title

Previous winner: The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories.

Costa Short Story Award

In the The Voice to the Costa’s X Factor, entrants are kept anonymous until the shortlist is decided. Announced tomorrow.

Arts and Entertainment
Loading individual letters on to an original Heidelberg printing press
books
Arts and Entertainment
Shades of glory: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'