New SoA fiction prize encourages positive representation of disability in literature

The first prize of its kind, founded by author Penny Batchelor and publisher Clare Christian, and sponsored by ALCS, is open to authors with disabilities or chronic illnesses.

The Society of Authors have announced the ADCI Literary Prize, an annual literary award open to authors with a disability or chronic illness, for novels that include a disabled or chronically ill character.

Proudly sponsored by ALCS, Arts Council England, the Drusilla Harvey Memorial Fund, the Hawthornden Literary Retreat, and the Professional Writing Academy, the prize will become part of the SoA Awards stable, joining ten other annual awards for fiction, poetry and non-fiction, worth more than £100,000.

The winner will receive £1,000 and two runners-up will each receive £500.

‘Celebrating disabled authors and their stories’

The co-founders of the prize, author Penny Batchelor and publisher Clare Christian, first identified the need for the prize while working together to publish Penny’s debut novel My Perfect Sister.

Both Penny and Clare are vocal campaigners, calling for better representations of disability in publishing and bookselling, and advocates for disabled people navigating their way through a publishing industry that often struggles to be accessible. Over the past six months alone, they have led the #KeepFestivalsHybrid campaign, calling for wider access to literary festivals and events post pandemic, and successfully lobbied Amazon to introduce a new Disability Fiction category to its books section.

The new prize opens for entries in August and will be awarded for the first time at the SoA Awards in June 2023. It will join the stable of other SoA Awards, which include the Betty Trask Prize and Awards, the Eric Gregory Awards, the Queen’s Knickers Award, the Paul Torday Memorial Prize and, awarded for the first time this year, the Volcano Prize. Together they form the UK’s biggest literary prize fund, worth over £100,000 annually.

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Pictured above, author Penny Batchelor announcing the ADCI Literary Prize at the SoA Awards at Southwark Cathedral.