After seventeen years as an established annual book prize, and awarding its first poet last year (Andrew McMillan for Physical), it was announced this week that the Guardian First Book Awards would be closing. The decision came as a result of the crowded 'awards landscape' as well as the Guardian News & Media’s bid to cut running costs by 20%, which would have put a strain on running the Awards.
This is sad news for many in the book industry: Stuart Broom, regional events coordinator for Waterstones, is "sorry to see the awards close." Waterstones has supported the prize for many years, hosting reading groups and helping to judge the prize.
Dallas Manderson, trustee of the Desmond Elliott Prize, which also awards debut writers, also commented that the closing of the Awards was a "huge shame."
Unfortunately, this is not the first incident of the closure of a book award this year. Both the Folio Prize and the Jerwood Prize for Fiction, which previously awarded Jo Mazelis' Significance (Seren, 2015), were suspended this year after their sponsorship deals had ended.
More information on the Bookseller.