Thrillers without violence against women….

At last! If you’ve noticed that every bestseller that hits the shelves involves crimes against women then look at this bold initiative. A new prize has been launched in the UK for thrillers without violence against women.

UK screenwriter Bridget Lawless has launched the Staunch Book Prize—an award for the best thriller novel in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered, reports The Guardian (UK) last month. The prize is worth £2000 (A$3,486) and is open to writers of any nationality over the age of 18, and entries can include traditionally or self-published print or ebooks.

Lawless said she was driven to launch the prize because she was ‘so fed up with the endless depictions of violence against women’ in the thriller genre. “It is way past time for something more original,” Lawless writes on the prize’s website. “As violence against women in fiction reaches a ridiculous high, the Staunch book prize invites thriller writers to keep us on the edge of our seats without resorting to the same old clichés – particularly female characters who are sexually assaulted (however ‘necessary to the plot’), or done away with (however ingeniously).”

Lawless is currently funding the prize herself, and has plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign to cover running costs. She will also judge the prize, along with British actress and writer Doon Mackichan.

Entries for the Staunch Prize open on 22 February. The shortlist will be announced in September, with the winner announced on 25 November. For more details, visit the award’s website.

About the author

Desley Cullen is a Research Librarian at the State Library of Queensland.