As the oldest judge for the Green Carnation Prize, female and straight at that, I had only read one of the authors submitted for the prize before. I knew of some of the others – how could I not? – but they were not my choice of reading material. I had, therefore, a completely open mind when beginning to read. The open mind was considerably expanded during the reading process, but I was un-hampered by any sort of public opinion tainting my decisions because, although I am a novelist, the sort of publicity that surrounds most of our submissions does not reach my particular cosy corner.
I looked for accessible novels. Although this is an award for gay male novelists, it does not follow that the books have to be about gay males, nor does it follow that they have to be about gay sex. If there are gay themes, great, as long as they aren’t, if you’ll pardon the expression, shoved down your throat. I have even been known to have gay themes in my own, highly non-contentious, novels.
I am pleased with the longlist, proud of the award and proud to have been part of its inception. I expect to be equally pleased with the shortlist and the eventual winner.
Lesley Cookman, Green Carnation Judge