A number of people have expressed interest in helping to count literary prize data. The data so far show a consistent, persistent, and striking bias: when women win literary awards, it’s usually for writing about men. In fact, the more prestigious the literary prize purports to be, the less likely it is to go to a woman writing about women.

To aid the gathering of data, I’ve set up a Google Group, Literary Prize Data. If you’re interested in staying abreast of what’s going on, or just want to count something, please go sign up.

If you emailed me before, I’ve just sent you an invitation to the group/mailing list. If you haven’t heard from me, that email’s gone astray somewhere. (Check your spam and junk folders.) But this is where it will all happen, so please go sign up here!)

As a reminder of why we’re doing this, here’s the data I’ve put together so far:








It would be great to gather data on the following prizes and/or geographic regions:

  • most recent Man Booker longlist
  • fantasy and sf and horror awards: World Fantasy, Campbell, Locus, Nebula etc
  • crime fiction awards: Edgar and Macavity and the Daggers, etc
  • Canadian awards (see the start that Maclean’s made)
  • Australian and New Zealand awards (see Nike Sulaway‘s info on this)
  • Scottish awards (I know at least one person is already working on this)
  • Irish awards (ditto)
  • Indian awards
  • historical fiction awards
  • children’s/YA awards (see the amazing amount of data, to 2012, gathered by Ladybusiness)

This is just a first pass. If you’ve been assembling data on anything else to do with bias (conscious or unconscious) in the publishing ecosystem, by all means send it!

The kind of data I’m looking for, exactly:

  • the last 15 years of awards, preferably broken down by year so we can maintain, sort, and resort records as we move forward
  • winners, shortlists, longlists
  • gender of writer
  • gender of protagonist

I’m happy to get more detailed later, but for now I’m seeking volunteers to cover these things. And others to figure out the best way to collate and present this data. I’d love to use better/more intuitive colours, for example. The more of us who count, the less each individual has to do. Many hands make light work.

So, please, go sign up for the mailing list. Writers and readers everywhere thank you.