Quagga Books

    Becky: The latest good news! Anne McNulty's Review of The Confessions of Becky Sharp for the
 Historical Novelists Association has just appeared. The novel now goes forward for a possible award in
 June. Watch this space!



 


 


First there was The Booker.  Then for the ladies there used to be The Orange.  Now for the enterprising independent author there’s The Quagga Prize for Literary Fiction.


 


Quagga is different, not just because it’s cheaper to enter, but because its promoter David James is seeking to support independent authors whose work may not fit snugly into any genre slot, but instead belongs in that catch-all category, Literary Fiction.


 


Literary Fiction is the kind I write and most enjoy reading.  It’s a somewhat vague and challenging area, but if you have the nerve and a novel that’s looking for and deserving a home, I would be delighted to read and comment on it.


 


Unlke fruit and vegetables, novels do not deteriorate with time.  The Quagga is open to novels of any age, so dust up your formerly rejected manuscript and send it to Quagga.


The Quagga Prize is awarded annually to the best novel in paper format written in English by an independent self-published) author.  While any work of fiction may be submitted, preference will be given to Literary Fiction, as outlined on the website below.  The Gold Medal (£300) is reserved for Literary Fiction. 


If in doubt whether your work meets the definition of Literary Fiction, you are welcome to submit, but unless it touches on most of the criteria outlined on the Quagga site you will not qualify for the Gold Medal.  However you may be awarded a Silver Medal prize (£100).  In addition, third, fourth and fifth placed entrants may receive prizes of up to £50 each.


An entry fee of £15 must accompany your book and the entry form.  Cheques, money orders, and electronic transfers may be made in sterling to ‘Quagga Books’ or to PayPal at www. [email protected]


Every entrant will receive an email report (not a critique) on his or her work.


All submissions will be acknowledged by email.  If you have not given an email address receipt will be acknowledged by regular mail, provided an SAE has been enclosed.


The deadline for receipt of completed submissions is June 30, 2017.


The results well be announced on the Quagga site in November, 2017.


 



David James is a writer, critic, and book reviewer, and has been a teacher of literature and creative writing in many countries.  He was for several years a regular speaker at the Winchester Writers Conference, having spoken on the writing of sequels, writing biographical fiction and self-publishing, as well as giving talks to writers’ circles. 


At the Dickens Bicenennial in 2012 he gave several readings from his fifth published novel Charles Dickens and the Night Visitors, since when he has completed his semi-autobiographical novel, The Scholar’s Tale (2014) and a book on language, Developing Writing Skills: A Working Manual (2016) which is available in electronic form and as a paperback from Amazon (See Look Inside Facility on Amazon website).


For more detail on the Quagga Prize and entry forms please visit www.quaggabooks.net


 


               FORMER WINNERS OF THE QUAGGA PRIZE


 


2014   ENVER CARIM   The Price of an Education


2015  PETER COWLAM  Who’s Afraid of the Booker Prize?


2016  McCAWLEY GRANGE  Shula and the Goats from Tala


 


                   THIS YEAR’S WINNERS ARE:


 


1)  McCAWLEY GRANGE for LITERARY FICTION


 


                                            SHULA AND THE GOATS FROM TALA     


 


2)  SM GUARIENTO for FANTASY FICTION


 


                                          INCARNADINE


 


3)  JOHN POULTON for THE RUNNERS-UP PRIZE


 


                                        THE LUCK OF THE CRANE




Grange, McCawley.  Shula and the Goats from Tala

This most engaging novel set in post-Kenyatta Kenya is divided into four Parts, each one named after a woman: Jennifer, Esmeralda, Aisha and finally Shula.  Of these only Jennifer, the Irish nurse is white; the others are native Kenyans.  All are portrayed convincingly, even Shula, the ghost whose presence is felt throughout, even sixty years after her murder.  Death is quite common in Kenya, survival being something of a miracle.  Life is cheap, but for the white workers, Charlie Carter and Freddie Bristoe, earning low wages in enormous heat, it offers an escape and a challenge.  The relationship between the two men is skillfully depicted by the author, their conrasting characters being marked from the start.  Freddie is a cynical, extrovert, organising the work force (although officially that is Charlie’s role) and taking his pleasures where he finds them - and there’s plenty of willing girls eager to please him.  Charlie is shy, terrified of approaching women, although desperate to lose his virginity.  The men share a room, guarded nightly by Titus, a loyal, if somewhat eccentric Kikuyu.  Charlie is the sensitive, generous-hearted helper - early on he attends the burial service in a disgusting  room of decomposing corpses, whose attendant sleeps in the grass nearby.  And of course Charlie is haunted the ghost, whose physical presence remains ambiguous to the end.

 

At the dynamic centre is Esmeralda, a would-be fashion model pretending to be a bricklayer, but unable to lift a barrow and in the end triumphant over both white men.  The struggle between the three occupies the centre of the book.  All the characters in the book are to some degree flawed, even naïve Charlie and faithful Titus, not to mention, Adonis, the seemingly invulnerable corporal and ‘the only one-armed police inspector in the world,’ Sam Wamiru.  The book offers the reader, in equal parts, horror and comedy.  This is epitomised in two episodes, one at the house of decaying corpses, the other at Esmeralda’s clever deception in the Nairobi Hilton of her potential seducer, Freddie Bristoe. 

 

Weaknesses in the book, there are few, but I found the moralising tone at times obtrusive, the hedging over Shula’s presence slightly annoying and Aisha is a disposable entity - even though she may ‘feel the reptile cower lower beneath the light of both their souls,’ in preparing the reader for a union of worthy hero
 

 

A BIG THANKYOU TO ALL ENTRANTS FOR THE QUAGGA PRIZE 2016


SEE BELOW FOR THIS YEAR'S WINNING ENTIRES

THE QUAGGA PRIZE 2016

THE QUAGGA PRIZE 2016


Results;



Congratulations to the following winners who were selected from a wide range of entrants who submitted in the 2015-16 year:.





!)  The Quagga Prize for Literary Fiction goes to



                                                                                                                                                                 McCAWLEY GRANGE


                                                                                                                                      

 

                                                                                                                                                                    for his novel  



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   SHULA AND THE GOATS FROM TALA



-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                                                                                        2)  The Quagga Prize for Fantasy Fiction goes to



                                                                                                                                                               SM GUARIENTO    




                                                                                                                                                                For his novel




                                                                                                                                                               INCARNADINE


__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


                                                                                                      3)  The Quagga 3rd Place Prize for Literary Fiction goes to



                                                                                                                                                           JOHN POULTON



                                                                                                                                                             for his novel



                                                                                                                                                      THE LUCK OF THE CRANE


                                                                                                                                                               

                                                  

                                                        



 

THE QUAGGA PRIZE CEREMONY AT WATERSTONES, PICCADILLY, NOVEMBER 2015

 CONGRATULATIONS to this year's Winners, Peter Cowlam, Jackie Griffiths and Malcolm John Jones.  The Prizes and Diplomas were presented to the Winners at Waterstones, Piccadilly, London W1.  Discussion on sundry self-publishing issues followed by agreement to promote the prizewinning books and give readings at a later date in 2016 


Left to right:  Malcolm John Jones, Peter Cowlam, David James and Jackie Griffiths.


A clearer image of Jackie receiving her Quagga Diploma ------------------------------------->>>>>




Reviews of the winners' novels on BOOK REVIEWS (see above)  and on AMAZON.



RESULTS OF THE QUAGGA PRIZE 2015


The winner of this year's Quagga Prize for Literary Fiction is 

                            PETER COWLAM

                                for his novel 

          WHO'S AFRAID OF THE BOOKER PRIZE?  

-----------------------------------------------------------------  

The winner of The Quagga Prize for Genre  Fiction (Fantasy) is

                         JACKIE GRIFFITHS 

                              for her novel 

                             OX HERDING                 

  _________________________________________            

                     The runners-up Prize is awarded to

                         MALCOLM JOHN JONES

                                  for his novel

                                CAN OPENERS    

 ______________________________________________________________________________                 

                                                               

The Quagga Prize for Literary Fiction was established in 2014 as a much-needed door to fiction of significant merit.  It honours the spirit of independent publishers, especially those who, for various reasons, may feel locked-out from major awards.


The Promoter and Principal Judge is David James, a reputable academic and author of six novels and a collection of short stories.


The 2014 entry proved highly successful and the Quagga Gold Medal was presented to Enver Carim for The Price of an Education at an Award Ceremony in London on November 4, 2014.

Remember Small is Beautiful!  Win something!  The Gold Award?   Silver?   Runners-up?   A positive mention?  Then put it away and do something else.  A sequel perhaps.  Keep a look out for small prizes. 


Many Prizes insist on recent publication, often within the past year or two.  Quagga does not.   I believe that a  book stands on its merits, and the common impulse to discover the new and latest is misplaced.  Unlike fruit, books do not rot; the best may go out of print but never out of style.


The Quagga Prize for Literary Fiction (£300) is given annually to the best novel submitted.  If in doubt whether your novel qualifies as 'literary' (see Terms below) submit it anyway.  It  could well be  awarded  a  silver  medal  (£100)  or  receive  an  honourable mention (£50).


Entries are accepted from January 1 to June 30, 2016.  All entrants will receive an email  acknowledgement on receipt and a Judge's Report (not a critique) in November 2016.  Short-listed entries will be published here (as above).


Explication of Terms

Literary Fiction

The term ‘Literary Fiction’ is frequently castigated as snobbish and elitist, if not totally meaningless as a category in its own right. Does it then imply that there is something smug and patronising in a writer describing himself or herself as a practitioner of this genre? Is the term as protean and useless as one agent suggested to me some years back when I told him that this was the kind of fiction that I loved best and was aspiring to write? He suggested to me that there were simply good novels and bad novels, and that my categorisation was at best vague and misleading, at worst redolent of intellectual arrogance.

Nevertheless, albeit duly chastened by his comments, I continued to believe that the term had its uses in that at least it served to distinguish two different approaches to writing fiction: writing for the reader and writing for oneself. Reader-directed writing or genre fiction knows where it is going from the start, while literary fiction is bent on self-discovery and reader revelation. The genre addict will be disappointed if the romance or fantasy fails to end with a bang (pun intended.) The reader of literary fiction expects nothing but self-enlightenment. Plot dominates in the first, while character reigns supreme in the second.


Self-published author

A writer who has mainly or wholly contributed to the cost of production of a book.


How to enter your book for the Quagga Prize 2016

Complete the Entry Form and post it with your book to Quagga Books. Cut along the line below  and send with your book and entry fee.

ENTRY FORM FOR THE QUAGGA PRIZE 2016


Please complete the form in full, sign the declaration and send it with your book and entry fee £15 to Quagga Books, 2 Leslie Gardens, Sutton, Surrey SM2 6QU


Book Title .....................................................................................................................


Author (s).......................................................................................................................


Date of Publication.......................................................................................................


ISBN..............................................................................................................................


Your Name in Full ..............................................................................................................................................................................


Your Postal Address ...........................................................................................................................................................................


Your email address .............................................................................................................................................................................


Contact details will not be disclosed without your permission.


Declaration:  I declare that I am an independent (self-published) author and that I have read and understood the terms and conditions for The Quagga Prize 2016


Signature ..........................................................................................................................................................................................


Books will not normally be returned


Please tick source of information about the Prize:  Press ad.  Word of Mouth.  Online ad. Writing group. Other (specify)


The Quagga Prize for Literary Fiction 2014


 


THE RESULT:


Quagga Gold Medal for Literary Fiction:    Enver Carim,  The Price of an Education


Quagga Silver Medal for Genre Fiction:      Linda Proud,  A Gift for the Magus


Runner-up to The Gold Medal:                  John C Bird,  Alby and Me       


 


Shortlisted:  

                                   

                       E.N Obiang,   The Special Ones


                       Marisha Pink,  Finding Arun


                                                                                                     Philppa Rees,  A Shadow in Yucatan


                                                                                                     Richard Wm Short,  I Am Mata Hari


           


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