The future’s so bright we gotta wear tentacles

Dearest tentacle bearers, readers, writers, editors, publishers, and fans,

The Kitschies are going to take 2016 off.

We have exciting plans for the future, and, rather than rush to make 2016 happen, we’re going to concentrate on 2017 (and beyond) instead.

Interested in being part of our future?

We’re looking for sponsors – both full and partial. An ideal sponsor is someone that shares our vision of a diverse, exciting future, and is keen to connect with the intelligent, fun-loving, and (very) chatty world of readers.

We’re also recruiting more members to the team to make us even stranger and more unusual than ever before. These are volunteer positions to help us with everything from web design to event management, as we prepare to wrap our tentacles around bigger and better things.

If you’re interested in getting involved – either as a partner or a volunteer – get in touch at admin@thekitschies.com.

We’ll be sharing all our schemes and dreams as they happen on Twitter at @thekitschies, or join our mailing list here.

— The Tentacles

 

Posted in 2016, Kitschies Tagged with: ,

Margaret Atwood, Tade Thompson, Jet Purdie, Square Enix, and Patrick Ness take home tentacles from The Kitschies

atwood-red2The year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining speculative fiction, sponsored by Fallen London.

London — The Kitschies, the prize for “novels containing elements of the speculative and fantastic” have announced for the most “progressive, intelligent and entertaining” books of 2015.

The Heart Goes Last, by Margaret Atwood (Bloomsbury) won the Red Tentacle (Novel) category, receiving £1,000 and a hand-crafted tentacle trophy. The prize was introduced by judges James Smythe and Nazia Khatun.

The entire shortlist:

James Smythe said “Even as part of an incredibly strong shortlist, The Heart Goes Last felt like an astonishing achievement. It´s an unsettling view of a future that – like so many of Atwood’s novels – feels all too prescient. Funny and devastating and wonderful, we all loved it.

The judges referred to all of the books as “batshit brilliant” and Atwood commented that she was glad to know “you can never be too old to be batshit”.

Making Wolf, by Tade Thompson (Rosarium Publishing) won the Golden Tentacle for Debut, receiving £500 and a hand-crafted tentacle trophy. The prize was introduced by judges Sarah Lotz and Nikesh Shukla.

The entire list:

Judge Nikesh Shukla said “With such a strong shortlist that gave us mermaids, fallen cities, people waking up a different race and more, Making Wolf manages to excite and entertain in equal measure. A strong strange political thriller that oozes with one-liners and thrills galore.”

Jet Purdie received the Inky Tentacle for cover art for Sally Gardner’s The Door That Led to Where.

The entire list:

  • Winner: The Door That Led to Where by Sally Gardner, art direction and design by Jet Purdie, illustration by Dover Publications Inc & Shutterstock (Hot Key Books)
  • The Vorrh by Brian Catling, design by Pablo Declan (Coronet)
  • Monsters by Emerald Fennell, art direction by Jet Purdie, illustration by Patrick Leger (Hot Key Books)
  • The Honours by Tim Clare, design and illustration by Peter Adlington (Canongate)
  • Get in Trouble by Kelly Link, design by Alex Merto (Canongate)

Judge and previous Black Tentacle winner Sarah McIntyre said “As judges, we loved exploring these books, opening covers that led like doors to lush endpapers, or admiring the more handmade-looking elements of illustration and typography. In the end, the book with the actual door on the cover charmed us the most, we loved the partially obscured London map and the way the design invited us to enter its story. Kudos to designer Jet Purdie who had not one but two books on the shortlist!

The Invisible Tentacle for “natively digital fiction” went to Life is Strange, by Square Enix Studios.

The entire list:

Judge James Wallis said, ‘The Invisible Tentacle shortlist runs the gamut of what is possible in digital storytelling, from AAA console games with eight-figure budgets, to spontaneous narrative happenings on Twitter. It was an amazingly strong list, from a really good year. We finally chose Life Is Strange for its updating of what a point-and-click adventure can be, with a great cast of characters, excellent writing, an intriguing rewind-time mechanic that drives a plot which refuses to go where you expect, and a level of immersion that challenges the player without putting off newcomers to interactive stories.’

The Black Tentacle, a discretionary award given to an outstanding achievement in encouraging and elevating the conversation around genre literature, went to the genre community, personified by Patrick Ness, for the response to the humanitarian refugee crisis. The fund Ness began raised £689,793.56 for Save the Children, from over 6,000 donors, including a marathon series of £10,000+ matching prizes from over 20 authors. Virgin Giving even waived their fees.

This year’s winners were selected from 176 submissions, received from over 60 imprints.

The prize, sponsored by Fallen London, is now in its seventh year, with previous winners including Andrew Smith, Ruth Ozeki, Lauren Beukes, Kameron Hurley, China Miéville, Ann Leckie, Nick Harkaway and Patrick Ness. This year’s literary judges were authors Sarah Lotz, Nikesh Shukla, and James Smythe, superfan Nazia Khatun, and entrepreneur Glen Mehn.

Posted in 2015, Kitschies

The Kitschies’ 2015 Shortlists Revealed

The year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining science fiction, sponsored by Fallen London.

London — The Kitschies, the prize for “novels containing elements of the speculative and fantastic” have revealed their shortlists for the most “progressive, intelligent and entertaining” books of 2014.

This year’s shortlisted books are narrowed down from 176 submissions, coming from over 40 publishers. The shortlists come from the largest literary and genre names in publishing to the smallest of independents.

The Red Tentacle (Novel), judged by Sarah Lotz, James Smythe, Nikesh Shukla, Nazia Khatun, and Glen Mehn:

  • The Heart Goes Last, by Margaret Atwood (Bloomsbury)
  • Europe at Midnight, by Dave Hutchinson (Solaris)
  • The Reflection, by Hugo Wilcken (Melville House)
  • The Fifth Season, by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • The Thing Itself, by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)

The Golden Tentacle (Debut), also judged by Sarah Lotz, James Smythe, Nikesh Shukla, Nazia Khatun, and Glen Mehn

  • The Shore, by Sara Taylor (William Heinemann)
  • Blackass, by A. Igoni Barrett (Chatto and Windus)
  • The Gracekeepers, by Kirsty Logan (Harvill Secker)
  • The Night Clock, by Paul Meloy (Solaris)
  • Making Wolf, by Tade Thompson (Rosarium)

The Inky Tentacle (Cover Art), judged by Sarah McIntyre, Dapo Adeola, Regan Warner, and Lauren O’Farrell:

  • The Vorrh, by Brian Catling, design by Pablo Declan (Coronet)
  • Monsters, by Emerald Fennell, art direction by Jet Purdie, illustration by Patrick Leger (Hot Key Books)
  • The Honours, by Tim Clare, design and illustration by Peter Adlington (Canongate)
  • The Door that Led to Where, by Sally Gardner, art direction and design by Jet Purdie, illustration by Dover Publications Inc & Shutterstock (Hot Key Books)
  • Get In Trouble, by Kelly Link, design by Alex Merto (Canongate)

The Invisible Tentacle (Natively Digital Fiction), judged by James Wallis, Rebecca Levene and Em Short:

The winners will be announced in a ceremony at The Star of Kings on 7th March, and receive a total of £2,500 in prize money, as well as one of the prize’s iconic Tentacle trophies.

The prize, sponsored by Fallen London, is now in its seventh year, with previous winners including Andrew Smith, Hermione Eyre, Nick Harkaway, Lauren Beukes, China Miéville, and Patrick Ness.

Quotes:

“I’d be lying if I said it was easy to pare this year’s excellent crop of books down to just five in each category, but the novels on the shortlist showcase what the Kitschies are all about: a celebration of diverse, genre-bending, wildly entertaining writing. Every novel on the list made me think or challenged my world-view; they all made me want to be a better writer. “

– Sarah Lotz (Red/Gold judge)

“Being part of a new award is terrific fun: weighing options, arguing about parameters and boundaries, discovering new works and creators, and diving into intense discussions with fellow judges. Doing it under the aegis of the Kitschies is double fun, and making it about a field as explosive and original as digital storytelling pushes it into highly refined awesome, the kind of awesome you can only get from one or two suppliers in a few very select parts of south London. An awesome to be savoured.”

James Wallis (Invisible judge)

“Cover designers have a tough job, making books jump off the shelves and into readers’ hands – and these books you have to pick up. As judges, we appreciated the elements that shouted out loudly to us from across the room. But on closer inspection, more subtle elements – beautiful endpapers, interesting uses of wrap-around covers, illustrative details – made us warm even more to the books we chose for the shortlist. Those more delicate touches were our key factors that led to use choosing these five books.”

Sarah McIntyre (Inky Judge)

“The great thing about judging the Kitschies is every single box we get. We get books from a big range of publishers, and almost all of them have managed to send in one gem. There are books not on the shortlist that I’ve been pushing into friends’ hands because they’re so absolutely amazing – the ones on the shortlist are beautiful, heartbreaking, funny, dark, and do things with stories that defy the imagination.”

– Award Director and Red/Gold judge Glen Mehn

Posted in Uncategorized

Announcing… Inky Tentacle judges!

Our lovely judges for the Inky Tentacle are here – and we are so excited at who and how they are.

Sarah McIntyre writes and draws picture books and comics, and won last year’s Black Tentacle award for supporting fellow artists. She pushes for recognition of illustrators and cover artists in the #PicturesMeanBusiness awareness campaign and challenges publishers to be sure to include illustrators in all their data listings and publicity material. Her books include the comic Vern and Lettuce, picture books Dinosaur Police, There’s a Shark in the Bath and Jampires (with David O’Connell), and illustrated chapter books with Philip Reeve including Oliver and the Seawigs and Cakes in Space. Visit her blog, which she updates regularly: www.jabberworks.co.uk

@jabberworks

Regan Warner is an American… insert shunned silence here. She’s been living in the UK for the past seven years and her accent thankfully has softened. She works in the advertising game as a creative/art director and prides herself on being a big idea thinker. From Clinque, Sega and Unilever through to her current gig at PokerStars her varied experience on brand building has been vast. Along with selling her soul the the advertising devil she does yoga to keep her enlightment in check. Her instagram @reganwarner shows her daily contortions which obviously bring great joy as she always has a smile on her face.

Dapo Adeola, Aka Daps, is an up and coming Illustrator, character designer and visual development artist whose art work is as random as the variety of interests that make up the man himself. You can find anything from rollerskating Crocodiles to Basketball playing Samurai and Children riding Giant animals popping out of his imagination at any given time. A self confessed Gym junkie with a sharp eye for composition and detail and a somewhat questionable obsession with Black ink and the “lovely heavenly Lines it produces” (his words, not ours). Likes to draw “Stuff” when not watching cartoons or running marathons.

@dapsdraws

Lauren O’Farrell (a.k.a. Deadly Knitshade) is an author, artist, graffiti knitting pioneer and giant squid wrestler. She is best known for her crafty street art made under the Whodunnknit label, installed with and without permission in London and other cities worldwide. She is also the author of two city knitting books (Stitch London and Stitch New York), writes for various crafty publications, and founded Knit the City, the UK’s first knitting graffiti collective. She lives in Crystal Palace, London with her ancient cats and Plarchie, her 8-metre knitted squid. It is rumoured she never sleeps.

Twitter/Instagram/Vine: @deadlyknitshade Facebook Website

Posted in 2015, Kitschies Tagged with:

Opening submissions for 2015!

FOR RELEASE 12:00BST 22nd June 2015

The Kitschies announce the opening of submissions for 2015

The Kitschies, sponsored by Fallen London, literature’s most tentacular prize, are pleased to announce the 2015 judging panel and the opening of submissions for books published in the UK in 2015.

These five individuals will be tasked with finding the year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining books that contain elements of the speculative and fantastic. Winners receive a total of £2,500 in prize money, as well as one of the prize’s iconic hand-crafted Tentacle trophies.

The prize is now in its sixth year, with previous winners including Ruth Ozeki, Lauren Beukes, China Miéville, Karen Lord, Nick Harkaway, Kameron Hurley and Patrick Ness. Last year’s winners were Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle (Red Tentacle) and Hermione Eyre’s Viper Wine (Golden Tentacle), selected from a shortlist that included works by William Gibson, Monica Byrne, Hanya Yanagihara, Will Wiles, and Nina Allen.

The judges for the Red and Golden Tentacles, for novels and debut novels, are Sarah Lotz, James Smythe, Nikesh Shukla, Nazia Khatun, and Glen Mehn.

James Smythe said

“The Kitschies have long been one of the most interesting literary awards around – the criteria alone guaranteeing shortlists packed with books and writers that everybody should be reading – and talking about. I’m thrilled to be helping to judge it – there are some incredible writers out there, some astonishing ideas, and I hope we can find the best of them and deliver them to you on a tentacley platter.”

Last year, The Kitschies received a record 198 submissions from over 50 publishers and imprints, including self-published books. The prize is open to both digital and physical submissions.

Please see the http://www.thekitschies.com for more information about the judges and the prize as well as to get submissions instructions.

Proudly sponsored by

FallenLondon_logo

 

Posted in 2015, Kitschies Tagged with: , ,

Reflections on judging the Kitschies 2014

FL_background

We read 198 books for The Kitschies in 2014 – lots of data on the breakdown here – and I’ve got a LOT of thoughts, and at least some appeals to publishers.

Doing this is a labour of love: Yes, you get free books, and free books are always good, but it will stress your love and abilities as a reader, adjust your faith in humanity, and reward you with hidden gems and big, great art. There are times when you’ll despair at the mountain of books – and, when you’ve given up a weekend power-read through a dozen books which all turn out to be not for you, not for the award, poorly written, poorly edited, you’ll droop your head in shame and think “They’re right, all the naysayers saying that everything is getting worse.

Then you’ll pick up a book and it’s like slipping into a natural hot spring on a much-deserved holiday after a crazy set of months at work.

I found as well that, despite me having more books than I can possibly use, that I still want them all. That frisson of excitement when you go into a bookstore? Still there.

Still, there are some things I’d beg of publishers.

Publishers – send in your books early

We opened in June, and we had maybe a dozen books in in the first few heady months, keeping well on top of the lists; it wasn’t until around October that they started piling in and we starting experiencing the Fear of Words on the Page. I know you’re busy, but you spend 6-18 months working on a book, helping it through agents and writer’s fears – give it time to breathe. Send in a few packages of books across a few months. Give us lots of time to read and reflect on them.

Consider the award’s history before sending things in

198 books sounds like a lot – and it is. No one would mind, but actually many of the books just aren’t appropriate.

Progressive, intelligent, and entertaining is a broad brief, but it is a brief.

A shortlist is more of a reflection of a prize than an award win

Judging books is hard – we never pick the “best”, but something that’s emblematic of progressive, intelligent and entertaining. Which is lucky. The Guardian did a series of interviews with Booker prize juries, and it makes for enlightening reading. I think, if you want to understand a prize – not least The Kitschies – looking at the shortlist is a better indication, but it makes less interesting reading to say “we gave 5 books £200 each” than “THIS BOOK IS THE PROGRESSIVEST ENTERTENTACLIST AND INTELLIGENTER ONE OF THEM ALL and here’s £1,000 to prove it”.

No prize gets everything

We call books in (i.e. we email the publishers and beg them to send them in), but we don’t get everything. Some publishers don’t send them out. Sometimes a memo (we assume) gets lost inside a publisher, so they mean to but don’t. Some books we miss due to the onslaught of books breaking Posties’ backs starting in November. We might have missed your favourites. Don’t take it out on the judges.

It’s way, super fun

I’ve been personally honoured to read a shed-ton of books – many of which were really brilliant and couldn’t be on the shortlists due to size – and to work with the clever and intelligent Kim Curran, Frances Hardinge, Adam Roberts, and Cat Webb, who are all lovely, hard-working delightful people, who will drink wine from tupperware and bring Cthullhu cakes and cheese along. It’s a joy and a delight and something that you should really do if you ever get the chance.

Thanks, as always, to super sponsors Fallen London.

Posted in 2014, Data, Kistschies Tagged with: , ,

Kitschies 2014 Datavore Infoflavour

Some data for the spreadsheet-and-538-loving people amongst you.

We had a massive 198 submissions, made bearable only by the extreme reading speed of the judges. Seriously, big hats off to all five: Frances Hardinge, Adam Roberts, Cat Webb (AKA Claire North), Kim Curran, and Glen Mehn, all of whom read an astonishing number of books in a very short time.

Some interesting thoughts and pieces of insight, presented as facts and to fuel what speculation it may fuel for the world at large.

152 books were submitted to the Red Tentacle, while 46 were submitted for Gold – almost exactly 3:1. This was across 54 publishing imprints (counting “Self” as 1 imprint. Sue us.)

totalGender

While we had a 35%/65% split (F/M) split overall, that worked out just about even (51% F/49% M, or one book) over the Gold (Debut) tentacle(s) and 30% F/70% M for Red.

goldGenderRedGender

Self-published books were 25% F (representing all of 2 books) and 75% M (representing 6 of the 8 books). Yes, we had eight self-published books submitted.

selfPubGender

(Anecdotally, several of the judges commented that the emerging talent was good – i.e. established writers, you’ve got to watch out)

Finally, we’re one of the only awards that accepts pure ebook submissions. Despite this, we only had 37 ebooks submitted – just under 19% of the total (and 7 of those were ebooks). This is down from previous years –No idea why, but maybe someone can talk about it?

We were going to stack the books up and measure them but couldn’t. Suffice it to say that it filled up an entire wall of one of our judge’s living room and caused their partner health and safety concerns.

Anyone got a van we can borrow to take somebooks to the charity shop?

Posted in 2014, Data, Kitschies, Shortlist