Children’s lit award changes

The system of state awards for children’s literature is due for some innovations, award committee president and writer Eugene Trivizas told the press on January 4 at the Culture Ministry. The committee has been examining ways to improve the system, said Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis, «working on a pilot basis to elaborate ideas and views on the future of state literary prizes.» For the first time, the award committee made public the list of children’s books under consideration for prizes: 310 books published in 2003 by 60 publishing houses. From now on, each committee member will receive a copy of each title. «Up till now, the committee had access to only one full set of books,» said Tatoulis, hinting at what was generally suspected, that previous prize committees were not fully aware of the content of the books they were judging. Each committee member will judge one-ninth of the titles. Expert opinions will also be taken into consideration in evaluating non-fiction works. When the judging is over, and with the publishers’ permission, the books will be sent to libraries in remote parts of Greece. Asked whether the same procedures would be adopted by other state literary award committees, Tatoulis said that each committee would work on proposals to improve the system. As for the children’s literature awards, Trivizas promised that the award ceremony in late February would be a different kind of celebration, with the participation of children.