An all-male shortlist for YA fiction has left the Locus awards mired in controversy – but prejudice is an unavoidable part of any literary prize.
Literature has always been a tribal world, and the internet has only made that worse. The romance readers on one forum, the crime buffs on another. The LitFicers trade snark in their favourite webzines, while the MFA grads are so hipster they communicate exclusively via Ello. It’s all reinforced by the feudal architecture of social media, where the good graces and retweets of your genre’s overlords can make or break. When two great literary tribes go to war, the screams of reputations dying can be heard from Facebook to Instagram, and nothing sparks conflict between writers like book awards.