It’s an issue I’ve thought about a lot over the years and if you’re a reader – or a writer – it’s probably crossed your mind at some point too.
Just why do certain novels win all the big awards, when actually, they aren’t very readable?
Awards promote books that are creative, insightful and eloquent. Books that explore turbulent periods in history or create chilling new worlds. These books are written by established authors, or debut novelists, people whose prose can take your breath away.
But sometimes, it seems the books that win awards aren’t necessarily the books that are the most enjoyable.
Sure, awards should exist to reward the writers who are brave and talented enough to create something original or challenging. The big awards should be for serious, literary work.
But I’ve read a lot of award-winning work and found myself struggling through page after page, wondering why I should bother to finish. I turn the last page and think: “Was that it? Did I miss something?”
The books I enjoy the most are the ones that strike a balance between being well-written and intelligent, but also having a compelling story. And it’s that story, the one that drives the book forward, that I often find is missing from novels on the awards circuit.
So while I like to keep an eye on the award shortlists, hoping for brilliance, I don’t rely on them to discover a new masterpiece.
Are you a fan of award-winning novels? I’d love to hear which ones are your favourites!