Cannes Equivalent for Book Prizes?
October 9, 2011 10:24 AM   Subscribe

For someone who likes to watch Cannes Film Festival winners, what book prizes would you recommend?

I have a reasonably successful system (for me) for choosing movies - I dump all the available winners in all the categories at Cannes into my Netflix queue. Yeah, I get some stuff that I'd unwatch if I could, but I like the diverse subject matter, often unconventional styles, international variety, and overall absence of big box studio output: in general, I like interesting things that are new to me and expand my mind to a certain degree.

My knowledge of book prizes is almost zero and I have no idea what different ones mean or what criteria are used in selection/ judging; given that Cannes is a good example of movie recommendations that tend to rock my boat, what book prizes might ring my bells?
posted by forallmankind to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe The Three Percent's Best Translated Book Award. Bear in mind, the number of books published per year vastly exceeds the number of films, and it usually takes more than 90-120 minutes to absorb a good book. So book reviews/awards do a relatively poor job of coming to a useful agreement.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:34 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Pushcart Prize is still a good indicator of quality. They release a yearly anthology.
posted by jsturgill at 10:46 AM on October 9, 2011

Man Brooker Prizes work for me.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:09 AM on October 9, 2011

Came in to second the Booker Prize. cf.
posted by mykescipark at 12:44 PM on October 9, 2011

I do not like the Booker, I find it modish, and shallow more often than not, and feel that few of the winners will even be remembered - let alone read - in fifty years time. It's very flavour of the month to me, though the shortlist in any given year is inevitably stronger than a randomised list of the winners, I think.

I like the Orange Prize,
The Commonwealth Writers Prize
The National Book Award
posted by smoke at 3:58 PM on October 9, 2011

While they don't have a competition, the New York Review of Books Classics imprint is also a very interesting list.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:23 PM on October 9, 2011

Thirding the Booker.

If you're interested in Canadian fiction at all, there is the Giller Prize.

And, of course, the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Google found me this list of prizes, which you might find useful.

Mmm... And now the word "prize" doesn't look like a word any more.
posted by looli at 7:44 PM on October 9, 2011

Best Translated Book Award is great. The Nobel has a pretty good track record. Le Clézio blew my mind when I read him, which was after he'd received the prize. You might want to check out the bigger regional European prizes, e.g. Prix Goncourt, Georg-Büchner-Preis, Nordic Council's Literature Prize and the Prince of Asturias Awards, and see what's been translated. These have pretty decent track records too.
posted by Kattullus at 8:12 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

A big favourite of mine, that I've been following for years, is the Royal Society Prizes for Science Books.

For the past twenty years, both the winner and short-listed books have been very worthwhile reads that will expand your mind.

For sponsorship reasons, the prizes have been known as the: Science Book Prizes, Rhône-Poulenc Prizes for Science Books, Aventis Prizes for Science Books, and Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books (current incarnation).
posted by fakelvis at 12:12 AM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

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