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The 2011 Kitschies: Introductions

2011 marks the third year of our annual award, the Kitschies. Initially, this began as a standard "end of year" feature, but last year we saw it grow into something bigger and (we think) better. Now, we're pushing the award to become even more.

To borrow from previous introductions, the guiding principle of the Kitschies is to reward those books that elevate the tone of geek culture. This doesn't mean using big words or having dully philosophical plot lines - it means creating something that we're proud to have represent our socio-literary community of genre fandom.

Every year, we look for something that is progressive (but not wanky) in terms of perspective and craftsmanship, intelligent (but not arrogant) in terms of character, plot and composition, and, crucially, entertaining (but not trite).

We give out two (sometimes three) awards. The Red Tentacle goes to the novel that best fulfills the criteria above. The Golden Tentacle is based on the same standards, but goes to a debut novelist. The Black Tentacle goes to a work that doesn't meet the criteria, but knocked our collective socks off anyway. The intention is not to give out a Black Tentacle every year, but who knows?

We're open for submissions thoughout the year. The Red Tentacle's short list will be chosen in January, with the five finalists all debated in excruciating detail. The final selection will be made at the start of February 2012. 

This year, we've made a couple of exciting changes...

Todarodes pacificus tentacle

First, our judging panel has expanded to four. 

Rebecca Levene joined the Pornokitsch team in June and her weekly column on gaming has already become one of our site's best (and most popular) features. A writer and editor for 15 years, Bex brings a wealth of experience and a very different perspective to the team.

Lauren Beukes is an author, TV script writer, comics writer, documentary maker and recovering journalist who occasionally falls off the wagon. She is the author of Moxyland and Zoo City, and has been recently announced as one of the writers of Fairest, the new Fables spin-off series from Vertigo. Zoo City won last year's Red Tentacle on its way to picking up the 2011 Arthur C. Clarke Award.

Second, we've taken the plunge and added a media partner.

We'll share more about this later, but, right now, suffice it to say that we're extremely excited. One of the core tenets of the Kitschies is the idea of transparency, and our new partner has some great ideas about how we can make the discussion and the debate more public (and more fun). 

We'll be opening for submissions soon, but if you have any questions, leave them in the comments or you can contact us through all the usual means.