Humanities Journal Special Issue: Eyes on the Prize: Women’s Writing and Literary Awards

Due Date: 09-30-2021

Of the various institutions and events that nowadays shape who and what gets read and what counts as literature, prize culture plays a key role. However, that culture is by no means homogeneous. Writers, readers, publishers, judges, “experts,” corporations, reviewers, and the media more generally, all routinely participate in an exercise made up of contending forces and influences. These contentions raise questions about fairness and authority in the interplay between judges’ claims of aesthetic quality, the agenda of a corporate sponsor, a writer’s reputation and image, and the politics of exclusion and inclusion.

This special issue of Humanities Journal investigates the interaction between literary awards and creative practices over the last fifty years. It examines the impact of a woman’s prizewinning publication on her own career, on the award itself, and on constructions of literary value. It invites papers on a particular work that considers such matters as the contexts of the prize—its published criteria and perceived stature; its historical significance with reference to previous winners; debates and controversies surrounding a winner or the shortlist; the constitution of the panel; and a critical evaluation of the merits of a particular work—in what ways is it, or is it not, a “deserving” choice?  The deadline for an abstract of around 200 words is 30 September 2021. The submission date for the paper is 30 June 2022, and we are looking for contributions of 6,000–8,000 words. For more information, visit