By Anna Clark
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Literary prizes for women continue to stir controversy about the benefit of putting a female prefix in front of a writer's work. But the founder of the Orange Prize says it helps flag an ongoing absence of women from serious short lists.
(WOMENSENEWS)--There's one--the Willa--for women writing stories set in the West, offered by the Colorado nonprofit Women Writing the West.
The $25,000 Rona Jaffe prize for up-and-comers is bestowed annually to a handful of writers by the foundation named after the famous author.
The Gift of Freedom from A Room of Her Own Foundation in Placitas, N.M., aims to fund a female artist's full-time work. Meanwhile, the Elisabeth A. McPherson Award for Women Writers hosts female authors in a Victorian house in Washington state each November.
There's no way to count all the prizes that, by honoring female writers, work to push women into the canon of serious literature.
Many support the beginning of a career or a project, helping a writer cover child care expenses or take time off from work. Others offer retreat time and space so that she can write in an inspiring and focused setting.
Perhaps the best known of all is the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction, an international award named for the British mobile technology company that sponsors it. Since 1996 it has hailed novels written in English by women, including those who are transgender.
In June England's Rose Tremain won the Orange for her novel "The Road Home." A separate Orange Prize for first-time authors went to Joanna Kavenna for "Inglorious."