Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

A new literary prize will honour novels about the climate emergency

The literary award is called the Climate Fiction Prize. It will be launched on June 2 as part of the Hay Festival of Literature & Arts, held in Hay-on-Wye in Wales

Published: May 18, 2024 08:58:11 AM IST
Updated: May 17, 2024 09:38:51 AM IST

A new literary prize will honour novels about the climate emergencyThe organizers of the Climate Fiction Prize hope that this literary award will pave the way for in a new era of climate fiction. Image: Shutterstock

Novelists have been imagining the consequences of climate change for years. Although this phenomenon is not new, a new literary prize will be launched in June to reward their efforts and encourage them to explore this theme further in their works of fiction.

The literary award is called the Climate Fiction Prize. It will be launched on June 2 as part of the Hay Festival of Literature & Arts, held in Hay-on-Wye in Wales. This annual event brings together personalities from the worlds of art, literature, science, politics, music and comedy as part of an initiative that "celebrates and inspires different views, perspectives, and points of view," explains the event website.

The Climate Fiction Prize has a similar aim. It seeks to "shed light on the exciting growing number of bold, exciting, nuanced and timely climate storytelling that is emerging in fiction publishing."

After all, ecological disruption has become a literary theme in its own right. Since the 1970s, a large number of science-fiction authors have imagined dystopian or post-apocalyptic worlds, in which heroes do their best to survive climate collapse. American journalist Dan Bloom coined the term "climate fiction" in 2011, to designate this sub-genre of science fiction.

The organizers of the Climate Fiction Prize hope that this literary award will usher in a new era of climate fiction, while helping to raise readers' awareness of the seriousness of climate issues. " As a society living through a period of deep transformation, we need literary work that is a reflection of these times, from the sheer terror of what we are already witnessing and what this means for us to the change already under way in real life – on the streets, in the courts and with organizations creating the sustainable food, energy and housing of the future. Climate fiction is an opportunity to reveal the people coming together to effect change through action, whose stories aren’t yet told," writes Tori Tsui, author and Climate Fiction Prize jury member, in an article for New Scientist magazine.

Also read: The (dangerous) air India breathes

Writer Nicola Chester is also on the Climate Fiction Prize jury, along with Lucy Stone, founder of the Climate Spring organization, and Andy Fryers, the Hay festival's sustainability director. Journalist and essayist Madeleine Bunting is President.

The first winner of the Climate Fiction Prize will be announced in spring 2025, according to the trade magazine The Bookseller. They will receive £10,000 (approx. US$12,650).