The Lit Review|87| Republic of Consciousness Prize


Earlier this week, two Irish presses had books short listed for the Republic of Consciousness prize. The prize was founded earlier this year by author Neil Griffiths who feels the current business model in publishing is “terrible.” He’s therefore put two grand on the line, contributing two thirds of the 3,000 pound prize money using his own money.

Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones, published by Tramp Press, and Beautiful Pictures of a Lost Homeland by Mia Gallagher and New Island. Solar Bones is a celestial tale of engineering and concrete. Mia Gallagher’s effort is a “a long polyphonic novel.” At the time of writing, there doesn’t seem to be a monophonic or real tone version available.

Republic of Conscionuess
Neil Griffiths, lover of small presses and the Tube. Source: Twitter

In Griffiths’ eyes, big publishers only want sure things. They want an immediate, material return on their investment. They want their lists to read like literary accumulators, the likes of which would give bookmakers sleepless nights.

He’s limited the maximum number of paid staff for eligible publishers to five. Two thirds of the prize are awarded to the publisher, with the author receiving the rest of the money.


The now annual prize is awarded to producers of “brave and brilliant” fiction, primarily produced by small presses (which suits us). The smaller the press, the braver the fiction. In all seriousness though, it is very positive to see independent publishers getting a look in. You may remember the recent controversy surrounding the exclusion of Mike McCormack from the Man Booker prize long list.

In reaction to the events of last Tuesday, the Lit Review can only make some reading recommendations. Phillip Roth has charted this territory before in his novel The Plot Against America. Here Roth speculates what would have unfolded had Charles Lindbergh mounted a challenge to Franklin D Roosevelt campaign as the candidate for the America First Party. The novel charts the Roth family’s lives in an increasingly hostile America. More recently, David Means has inhabited the character of a recovering veteran whose participating in a psychedelics based rehabilitation program initiated by an unassasinated JFK.


From November 10-13 the Dublin Book Festival will take over the capitol, with the fantastic Smock Alley Theatre as its main hub for proceedings. The Dublin Book Festival is one of Ireland’s most successful and vibrant book festivals, running since June 2006. You can check out the full listings for the fantastic festival right here.

This week you can get your dose of spoken word goodness from either the Monday Echo in Dublin, or Ó Bhéal in the Long Valley pub in Cork. Tramp Press are launching the latest title in their Recovered Voices series this Friday in the Gutter Bookshop in Temple Bar.

The Dublin Book festival will be taking place this weekend with readings, master classes and children’s events taking place across the city. The book festival is in its tenth year and provides attendees with the chance to acquaint themselves with Irish publishing and the history of Irish literature.


Levon Publishing, The Dublin Review, Penguin Random House

Featured Image Source – Conor O’Donovan