Benjamin Johncock

novelist, writer

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The John Llewellyn Rhys Prize 2011 {#JLP}

I thought it would be easier to update you on the #JLR campaign here, rather than clogging up your timelines on Twitter with multiple tweets again (on the subject of which, thank you for putting up with all my talk on the subject).

First of all, I’m personally bowled over by the support everyone has shown - so thank you very much for helping to spread the word.  It’s so great to see everyone getting behind the prize and supporting it.  

I’ve been speaking with Claire Shanahan, the Prizes and Awards Manager at Booktrust this morning about the idea of crowdfunding the prize to ensure it runs in 2011 (including possible sponsorship and other ideas that people had).

She - and everyone at Booktrust - have been overwhelmed and touched at the support, passion and enthusiasm of everyone who’s got behind #JLR over the last couple of days.

However, as is the way with these things, it is a lot more complex a situation than it might initially seem.

Financially, raising money needed to proceed with the 2011 prize is just one part of this.

Booktrust are currently talking to various possible sponsors to ensure the longevity of the prize from 2012 onwards - including the prize’s 70th anniversary next year, whilst ensuring the integrity of the prize to which they are custodians.

There are also more practical problems associated with judging the prize (and reading all the books!) between now and the autumn, when the prize is traditionally awarded.

With all this in mind, they feel it best to concentrate efforts on ensuring the long-term future of the prize from 2012 onwards.

I’m sure everyone will agree that, whilst it’s a shame that they’ll be no prize this year, the long-term future of it is of huge importance.

Here are Claire Shanahan’s contact details (listed with permission) if anyone would like to discuss the situation with her directly:

Telephone: 020 8516 2973 

For anybody wanting to donate to the general work of Booktrust, they have a JustGiving page here.

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