The East Midlands had a great showing in the Saboteur Awards Shortlists:
- Best Short Story collection – Table Manners and Other Stories by Susmita Battacharya published by Dahlia Publishing
- Best Spoken Word Performer – Jamie Thrasivoulou (Derby) with Jess Green (Leicester) getting a special mention
- Best Literary Festival – Asian Writer Festival organised by The Asian Writer (Leicester)
- Best Poetry Pamphlet – Shruti Chauhan (Leicester) got a special mention for “That Which Can Be Heard”
- Best Spoken Word Regular Night – Word Wise (Derby)
- Best Spoken Word Show – Jess Green (Leicester) gets a special mention
- Best Anthology – “High Spirits a round of drinking stories” co-edited by Jonathan Taylor (Leicester) and Karen Stevens (Valley Press).
- Best Reviewer of Literature Shortlist – Emma Lee (Leicester) and Maria Taylor (Leicester).
The winners were announced at an awards ceremony in Birmingham on 18 May. I wasn’t able to attend (prior engagement booked before the Saboteur Awards date was known). It was fantastic to see wins for:
- Best Regular Spoken Word Night – Word Wise (Derby)
- Best Spoken Word Performer – Jamie Thrasivoulou (Derby)
- Best Anthology – “High Spirits a round of drinking stories” co-edited by Jonathan Taylor and Karen Stevens (Valley Press).
- Best Short Story Collection – “Table Manners” Susmita Battacharya (Dahlia Publishing).
Also on the Best Reviewer of Literature shortlist were:
- Dave Coates, research assistant at the Centre for New and International Writing at the University of Liverpool whose critical work is mostly published at Dave Poems.
- Isabelle Kenyon, editor of Fly on the Wall Press with book reviews, articles and blog posts published in London Grip, Neon Books, Authors Publish, Harness magazine and Five Oaks Press.
- Maria Taylor, poet and reviews editor for Under the Radar magazine. Through Under the Radar she’s also worked with reviewers on the Ledbury Poetry Festival’s Emerging Critic scheme.
- Jade Cuttle, selected by the Ledbury Poetry Festival as emerging critic and Editor’s Choice on the 2018 Saboteur Awards shortlist. Reviews published in the TLS, the Guardian and the Poetry Review amongst others. She’s also deputy poetry editor at Ambit.
More on each reviewer on the shortlist is available at Sabotage Reviews.
Dave Coates has won the Saboteur Awards Best Reviewer previously. The competition was very strong and the award could have gone to anyone on the short list without anyone thinking they were robbed or the results unfair. The results are decided by number of votes. There’s no panel to impress so no bias towards certain publishers/regions and, more importantly, no foregone conclusions.
Unfortunately I couldn’t be there on the night and, when I checked on social media at the end of a long day, Best Reviewer hadn’t been announced so I had to wait until Sunday morning to learn I’d won. Huge thanks to everyone who voted.
It’s also a win for The Blue Nib who have promoted me from reviewer to poetry reviews editor. I will still be reviewing for The High Window Journal, The Journal London Grip and Sabotage Reviews as ever.