The Green Carnation

Far from the tree, by Andrew SolomonAmongst the wealth of famous book prizes (Man Booker, Costa etc) which receive mass media publicity, one announced toward the end of the year that is relatively unknown is the Green Carnation Prize, awarded for LGBT (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender) literature.

First awarded in 2010 as an award for a work of fiction or memoirs by gay men, it now celebrates the best fiction and memoirs by LGBT writers worldwide.

The name of the award is derived from the green carnation historically sometimes worn as an emblem of homosexuality and is a tribute to Oscar Wilde who often carried one on his lapel. It was also the title of a book by Robert Hichens originally published anonymously in 1894 which based its main characters on Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas. The book was cited in the successful prosecution of Oscar Wilde for Gross Indecency for which he was sentenced to two years hard labour.

Paperboy by Christopher FowlerThe first winner of the prize (in 2010) was Christopher Fowler with Paperboy. The winner for 2013 was announced in November and is Far from the tree: a dozen kinds of love by Andrew Solomon.

Chair of the judges for 2013, Uli Lenart of Gays the Word bookshop, described the book as

“A work of extraordinary humanity. Life affirming, insightful and profoundly moving. Andrew Solomon continuously makes you reassess what you think. An opus of diversity, resilience and acceptance; Far From The Tree is a book that has the power to make the World a better place.”

A number of copies of Andrew Solomon’s book can be found in Westminster Libraries. Details of previous winners and 2013’s shortlist can be found on the Green Carnation Prize website.



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