The winner of the UK based and BBC Radio Four sponsored Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction was announced a coupe of days ago: The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale. The author receives £30,000, or $60,000 at today’s crapulous exchange rate. I think this makes it the richest purse for nonfiction in the world. Even the Pultizer prize winners only get a measly $10,000.
Being Brits, the organizers have to hyphenate nonfiction — something I choose not to do as I have been living in the States for nearly ten years now and besides, “non-fiction” just seems so…formal. Plus it puts more emphasis on the components of the word, which makes it seem like a reaction of a genre, defined in opposition to the “true art” of fiction. Am I the only one to hear the implied slur in that, or am I just being over sensitive?
I have actually been looking for an alternative to “nonfiction” for some time. Faction? Reality prose? Both gross — any better suggestions, anyone?