It’s been an incredible five months judging this year’s Green Carnation Prize, a prize that celebrates the best books published in the UK by authors who identify as LGBT. We’ve read autobiographies, memoir, short stories, historical and contemporary novels, fiction in translation, graphic novels and poetry. I think we covered just about every genre and it’s been fantastic to see the quality, breadth and depth of LGBT literature currently being published in this country.
Last Thursday morning, my fellow judges and I gathered at the new – and very swanky – flagship Foyles store on the Charing Cross Road at the very early hour of 8am to discuss how we were going to pick a winner from the incredible titles we had shortlisted a few weeks previously. Over tea, coffee and delicious pastries provided by the shop’s café, we came to a decision, and the winner was duly announced at a great party (also held at Foyles) the next evening.
The aftermath of our breakfast discussion, with the shortlisted titles on display.
Any Other Mouth is Anneliese Mackintosh’s debut novel, and is an astonishing achievement. It’s not a novel, nor is it a memoir, nor is it a collection of short stories. Rather it is a unique combination of all of these that defies categorisation, and the way in which Mackintosh draws all the threads of her non-linear narrative together is particularly impressive. Any Other Mouth is raw, honest, in-your-face and uncompromising. Mackintosh walks the line between humour and tragedy brilliantly, and tackles themes which are universal (love, sex, death, adolescence) in a way that is unique and personal. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
Anneliese making her winner’s speech at the party.
You can read more about this year’s prize on the Green Carnation website here, on Simon Savidge (the founder’s) blog, here, and Anneliese has also written about what it felt like to win on her blog here.
Do keep an eye on The Green Carnation Prize’s website and Twitter account for more information about some events which will be taking place next year to celebrate this year’s prize and the books and authors involved. And do go to Foyles, or to wonderful independent bookshop Gay’s The Word, to buy the long and shortlisted titles.