Madeline Miller's Circe, Ahmed Saadawi and Suzanne Dean take home awards from The Kitschies
The Kitschies, sponsored by Blackwell's, which decribes itself as the prize for 'novels containing elements of the speculative and fantastic' has announced the most 'progressive, intelligent and entertaining' books of 2018.
Circe, by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury), won the Red Tentacle (Novel) category, receiving £1,000 and a hand-crafted tentacle trophy.
Red and Gold tentacle judge, Lucy Smee, said: "With Circe, Madeleine Miller has created a work of true genius, an overused word that I truly mean here. You think you know something of Ancient Greek mythology, but then the story, the characters, the world of immortals are all redrawn in a way you had never imagined but that upon reading, you realised you deeply needed. Circe isn’t simply the retelling of Greek myth from a woman’s point of view and it isn’t simply the story of Circe’s long life well told. It is a deep, languorous, gripping, familiar, revelatory, feminine epic woven together with pure poetry."
Frankenstein In Baghdad, by Ahmed Saadawi (Oneworld) won the Golden Tentacle for Debut, receiving £500 and a hand-crafted tentacle trophy. Red and Gold Tentacle judge Daniel Carpenter said: "Even amongst five exceptional debut novels, Frankenstein in Baghdad stood out to the judges, managing to not only reconfigure the original science-fiction novel, but to use the Frankenstein story to explore the complexities of conflict in the Middle East. It is a horrific novel at times, absurd too. Saadawi’s true skill is the way he manages to blend all of the elements together to create a masterpiece of a book. It’s a truly remarkable achievement, giving a bolt of new life to both the post 9/11 Iraq novel, and to the titular monster himself."
Suzanne Dean received the Inky Tentacle for cover art for Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami. Inky judge Dapo Adeola said: "It was a tough decision between the last five books, however, Killing Commendatore manages to use all the elements and space available on the cover to full effect and in a manner that manages to be fresh and varied yet works together harmoniously. The combination of different artists work has definitely been very well utilised."
This year’s winners were selected from 178 submissions, received from over 50 imprints. Red and Gold Tentacles were judged by Adam Roberts, Lucy Smee, Daniel Carpenter, Matt Webb and Sharan Dhaliwal. The Inky Tentacle was judged by Dapo Adeola, Maeve Rutten and Lily Ash Sakula.
Awards directors Glen Mehn and Leila Abu el Hawa said: "Seven years of giving out tentacles has taught us that there are publishers, big and small, taking risks and bringing out amazing books that aren’t afraid to blow your expectations of what speculative fiction can do to your mind." Previous winners include Nina Allen, Margaret Atwood, Karen Lord, Patrick Ness, Becky Chambers, Lauren Beukes, Ruth Ozeki and China Miéville.