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Prize founded for books without violance against women

LIVERPOOL – (The Guardian) – From Before I Go to Sleep to The Girl on the Train, the trope of the woman in danger from a man has powered novel after novel to the top of the book charts. But claiming that violence against women in fiction has reached “a ridiculous high”, a new prize is being launched for the best thriller “in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered”.

Founded by the author and screenwriter Bridget Lawless, the Staunch book prize will open to entries next month, with the winner to be announced on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Lawless, who is funding the £2,000 prize pot herself, will be joined on the judging panel by the actor and writer Doon Mackichan, who wrote and presented a BBC Radio 4 documentary about the increase of violence against women on television, Body Count Rising.

“It’s way past time for something more original,” Lawless writes on the prize’s website. “As violence against women in fiction reaches a ridiculous high, the Staunch book prize invites thriller writers to keep us on the edge of our seats without resorting to the same old cliches – particularly female characters who are sexually assaulted (however ‘necessary to the plot’), or done away with (however ingeniously).”

Lawless said she was moved to launch the prize after seeing the number of films featuring rape as a plot device at last year’s Baftas. She is entitled to vote in the awards, but this year abstained, writing in the Guardian that it was not clear if the films in the running were free from the accusations of sexual abuse that have swept Hollywood in the wake of claims made against the film producer Harvey Weinstein.

You can read the full article in The Guardian’s website.