The Chris Al-Aswad Prize

AQpologies. This post comes with a request for help (see the end).

I had intended to use this slot to begin the build-up to the first anniversay of the launch of our first novels. The post date says June 15, but they were launched on September 1st. Really!

Sadly, events have overtaken that somewhat, so I want to talk briefly about something else I’m doing, through my very much in its infancy project eight cuts gallery. The sadness, which many of you will already know, is the death of the inspirational Chris Al-Aswad a fortnight ago. Chris, the visionary behind Escape Into Life, was just 31. He shared so many of the very best ideals of what we do, and touched so many lives for the better, that I’m sure you’ll forgive me putting this here. The post below is from the eight cuts site. There are full prize details there too.

it is an honour to announce, as one of the very first things I do with that venture, the inaugural

chris al-aswad prize for outstanding contribution to breaking down barriers in the arts

for the person, organisation, website, community, whatever that has done most to promote brilliance, diversity, and the breaking down of barriers in literature over the preceding twelve months. it is a genuine honour to be able to award this prize in the name of chris al-aswad, one of the most brilliant, farsighted, innovative, generous, and supportive people in the arts. chris, the genius behind escape into life, one of the most wonderful places in cyberspace, died in july 2010 at the age of just 31. his contribution and spirit will be sorely missed, and are irreplaceable. it is a privilege to be able to do something that will in some way perpetuate his name and his values.
the award is intended to recognise outstanding people striving to break down barriers, and to provide practical assistance to its recipients in furthering their work. to that end, it will not be awarded by demonstrable quantitative achievements, or to a job fully done.

we are really keen to hear any and all recommendations – e-mail by september 15

full details here

and the really important bit for you

to make the prize as helpful as possible, i want to make the actual prize both useful and symbolic of what chris believed in so much, the values i completely share with him. so i want as many people in the arts or media in any capacity to think about what they could offer the recipient. something very small, the equivalent of an hour of your time.

  • if you’re in the media, it might be a column on the recipient
  • if you’re onilne it might be giving over a guest post
  • if you have a venue it might be a brief show
  • if you have a shop, it might be a prominent place on your shelves for a period

put together, these little pieces can make a huge contribution to the recipient’s work and, as a result, to breaking down barriers in the arts in general. offers gladly taken in the comments here as well as at the above e-mail address.

of course, the first thing everyone here can do is blog about it, and send people over to

~ by yearzerowriters on August 13, 2010.

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