The Folio Prize and “Doodle Paris”

I don’t usually publish articles at weekend but wanted to recognise two items which don’t fit into my normal review schedule.

folio prizeThe first is this week’s announcement that the Literature Prize has gained sponsorship from The Folio Society and is now to be known as The Folio Prize.  The Literature Prize was first announced last October in reaction to general dis-satisfaction with the Man Booker Prize which seemed to have prioritised readability over artistic achievement. Andrew Kidd, the agent for the new prize told The Bookseller magazine, that the prize “will offer readers a selection of novels that, in the view of these expert judges, are unsurpassed in their quality and ambition”.

He went on to say,  “We believe though that great writing has the power to change us, to make us see the world a little differently from how we saw it before, and that the public deserves a prize whose sole aim is to bring to our attention and celebrate the very best novels published in our time.”

The Literature Prize people have obviously been busy since then and this weeks announcement about sponsorship shows that they have not only gained a substantial prize fund (£40,000 for the winner) but also established an Academy of 100 writers and critics including such names as Margaret Attwood, Colm Tóibín, Salley Vickers and Philip Pullman who will select titles to go on the short-list.  Each year, five members of the Academy will be asked to be the judges for the competition.

I am not usually very interested in literary prizes but this one looks like it will be well worth-while.  The Folio Society is a great match for the aims of the prize because, as Andrew Kidd says, “they are about recognising the books of today that will be in print in 50 or 100 years time”.



At a time when many of us are planning short city-breaks I’d also like to mention a little book that came my way called Doodle Paris, a sort of colouring book for grown-ups but just as much fun for a child. When I saw it I thought what a great idea this is for anyone who happens to be spending a few days in Paris.  You can take Doodle Paris with you and use it to record your memories of the visit.  The idea is simple,

“Each page comes with a simple illustration prompt inspired by the French capital, say  the window of a patisserie, a line drawing of the city’s skyline, or a series of picture frames hanging in the Musée d’Orsay, and encourages you to draw in the rest”.

Not many people would have the confidence to take a pencil and a blank sheet of paper and actually draw something while sitting at a café table or relaxing on a park bench.  This book may give you the prompt you need to begin sketching – no other equipment is required other than a pencil or pen.

There’s plenty of space in the book for recording your notes and comments too and I could well imagine that if you took Doodle Paris with you it’s one book you would keep on your shelves for years to come to help you remember your visit.

5 thoughts on “The Folio Prize and “Doodle Paris”

  1. Oh dear Tom, I do wish the subscription worked the way it used to. Anyhow, I’ve heard a little about this new Folio Prize and it sounds interesting. I’m not a huge follower of prizes either, and don’t have plans to read all of this prize or that, but I do recognise their value for writers. For them, I say, the more prizes the better – prizes in genre, prizes by gender or minority group, national prizes, international prizes, local prizes, etc. It gives money to authors and, even better, gives them publicity. That is rarely bad.

    As for your doodle book, I’m one of those who wouldn’t have the confidence to pick up a pencil and sketch either. I’d rather like to though. I don’t aspire to be a creative writer, and certainly not a musician or actor, but I wouldn’t mind being able to sketch. One day perhaps I should take classes … just to get me started with a few basic principles.


    • Hi Sue

      I am in the process of changing my email system across to MailChimp. It’s going to take me a few days however. Thanks for visiting – we can all draw something!


  2. In regard to these literary prizes, I am interested in them but also frustrated when reading about them. I hungrily look at the lists of nominees with no time to read them.

    Not having read any of the recent nominees(I think that the last winner that I read was Midnight’s Children ), I keep hearing lots of criticism that mirror to what you allude to above about the Booker Prize.


  3. You reckon! I did have a little doodle with Paper App on my iPad on the weekend so I might dabble a little more! My son can draw … I need to get him to teach me.

    Great re MailChimp … will you let us know when it’s working? I’m happy to be a tester!


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