The Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses

UK writer, Neil Griffiths partly personally funded a new prize for books published by small, independent presses, on which he has bestowed the rather extravagant name, 'The Republic of Consciousness' and the tagline: 'hardcore literary fiction and gorgeous prose.'    

It seems that most have forgotten that the literary greats, let's say the Modernists depended on the existence of small presses and small literary magazines - see above - to get into print. Today these writers are studied in university courses the world over, but when they were alive they were scrounging for work as casual teachers of English in Trieste, or Rome. (I recently read this striking evocation of the peripatetic life of James Joyce and his family, where he was described as 'unsettled and penniless' - puts it into perspective somewhat).  

On reading the long-list of the authors on the Republic of Consciousness Prize, three immediately appealed to me, one so much that I ordered the novel from the publisher last night. See if you can resist, after reading this description of The Marvellous Equations of the Dread by Marcia Douglas - a writer who was born in the UK, grew up in Jamaica and is now based in Colorado (the publisher, Peepal Tree Press calls itself: the 'Home of the Best in Caribbean & Black British Writing')  

A magical realist journey through the history of Rastafarianism, Bob Marley & Jamaica – not necessarily in that order. Rhapsodic, poetic, scripturally engaged and endlessly inventive. Not only is the electric atmosphere of Jamaica evoked with sensuousness, delicacy and love; so is the ‘dub-side’, a studio yard just the other side of death, where Bob Marley and a toothless and lisping Halle Selassie discuss the relative merits of routes to Zion.

Check out this longlist for the Republic of Consciousness prize; it offers up a multitude of interesting, innovative writers and books to be discovered. And here is the website for Marcia Douglas. Can't wait to read her book, described as 'a novel in bass riddim ...'