A Black Tentacle for McIntyre!

The Kitschies awards are a prize for 'progressive, intelligent and entertaining literature with a speculative element', and last night they awarded their Red Tentacle for Best Novel of 2014 to Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, while the Golden Tentacle for Best Debut went to Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre. But they also dish out an annual Black Tentacle for special achievements, and this year they have wisely awarded it to international celebrity hatstand Sarah McIntyre for 'her outstanding support of genre literature and her fellow artists ... McIntyre has worked to elevate the conversation around genre literature; she also recently started the #NonIdentikit challenge, in which she encourages other illustrators to present more diverse faces in their work.' 

She's also been working hard recently to help ensure that illustrators (and designers, and translators) get the credit they're due.

There's a notable unfairness in the way that illustrated books are listed on Amazon, in newspapers, and on awards shortlists: they are always credited to the writer, but seldom to the illustrator. This led to a ridiculous situation last year when Oliver and the Seawigs was longlisted for an award and, despite the fact that we created it together and both our names on the cover, it was referred to in their listings as 'by Philip Reeve'. 

Sarah was able to persuade them to look again at their policy, but it's a problem that keeps cropping up with other books and other illustrators.  It's not just about hurt pride; it's bad for business if illustrators names are left off listings, and it costs them book sales if people can't use an illustrator's name to search for their other books on sites like Amazon and Waterstones.  But where I would just grumble and shrug, McIntyre has leapt into action, drawing attention to the problem and sniffing out the underlying reason why it keeps on happening (because of metadata, apparently).

So I'm very proud of my co-author, and very pleased that our Dartmoor Pegasus has become the fat, flying poster-pony for #PicturesMeanBusiness.

                                                                                                           Picture by Sarah McIntyre


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