Saboteur Awards

Go to our dedicated Saboteur Awards website for more information.

To vote in this year’s awards, click here

Below is a brief history of previous awards.

The Saboteur Awards have been running since 2011. Originally started to celebrate our first birthday (31st May btw) and focusing on magazines, they spread out to encompass 12 awards given out in a public ceremony. In their present form, the awards are voted for by the public, and have no prize money.

Saboteur Awards 2011

The first Saboteur Awards were given to mark Sabotage’s first birthday. After our reviewers voted for their two favourite nominated publications, a shortlist was discussed by a small panel of judges. In the end, we gave the inaugural Saboteur Award to Polarity, which was praised for ‘not just displaying art, but being a piece of art itself’.

First Place: Polarity

Second Place: >kill author

Third Place: La Petite Zine

In this first set of awards, we also awarded a Special Commendation to the purely online Moon Milk Review for its success at exploiting the possibilities of the internet as a medium, or web-integration, as we decided to call it.

Saboteur Awards 2012

For our second birthday, we handed out some more Saboteur Awards, this time decided entirely by public votes from our readers and reviewers. 191 people got involved to cast a vote, and many of them left comments explaining their choice. The second Saboteur Award winner, earning almost half of those votes, was the second instalment of Armchair/Shotgun. One voter described it as ‘a saboteur in the best and worst ways – it sabotages complacency, which is a very dangerous thing in a mass marketed, preprocessed, single-serving-container society’, while another mentioned the live events also carried out by some of the Armchair/Shotgun team.

First Place: Armchair/Shotgun
(you can read our interview with some of the Armchair/Shotgun team here)

Joint Second Place: Ilk and New Linear Perspective

Third Place: Anon

Saboteur Awards 2013

Our third birthday was the first time we had a proper birthday party for the Saboteur Awards, with an awards ceremony and book fair at London’s The Book Club. In a radical change from previous years, we had separate categories – with a shortlist of sixty entries in those twelve categories. For the first time we also had awards for performers and performance events. The shortlist and final results were both decided by public vote, and you can find the full shortlist and our coverage of shortlistees here.

The winners, in no particular order, were: Shake the Dust, Tony Williams – All The Bananas I’ve Never Eaten, Rising, Charlotte Newman – Selected Poems, Vanessa Kisuule, Bang Said the Gun, Martin Figura – Whistle, Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot, Overheard: Stories to read aloud, Estuary: A Confluence of Art and Poetry,  Luke Kennard – Holophin, and Penned in the Margins.

Saboteur Awards 2014

For our fourth birthday we decided to move out of the London to the legendary Jericho Tavern in Oxford. This time the celebration lasted a day with a book fair and readings.We kept the same number of categories, but modified a few, with a single award for anthologies and the creation of awards celebration best collaborations and best reviewers. Like last year, the shortlist and winners were determined by public vote. You can view the shortlist here, and the winners here.

The winners, in no particular order, were: Nine Arches Press, Steve Nash, Fiona Moore, Poems in Which, W.N. Herbert, Murder Bear (Donut Press), Weird Lies, ed. Cherry Potts and Katy Darby (Arachne Press), Sophia Walker, Around the World in 8 Mistakes, Liars’ League, Kirsty Logan, The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales (Salt), Against Rape, 4-10 November 2013Nikesh Shukla, Time Machine (Galley Beggar), Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone, Riotous (Sidekick Books).

Saboteur Awards 2015

For our fifth birthday, we were lucky enough to be supported by a Grant for the Arts from Arts Council England. The awards took place at the ‘club for the surrealistically distinguished’ that is Vout-O-Reenees, in London. Like previous years, public vote determined the shortlist and winners.

The winners, in no particular order were:

Best Magazine

Winner: Lighthouse Literary Journal
Runner Up: Bare Fiction

Best Novella

Winner: Heidi James, The Mesmerist’s Daughter (Neon Magazine)
Runner Up: u.v. ray, The Migrant (Murder Slim Press)

Best Spoken Word Performer

Winner: Hollie McNish
Runner Up: Sophia Walker

Best Reviewer

Winner: Dave Coates
Runner Up: Afric McGlinchey

Most Innovative Publisher

Winner: Penned in the Margins
Runner Up: The Emma Press

Best Anthology

Winner: The Charnel House, ed. Tom de Freston (Bridgedoor Press)
Runner up: Furies: a poetry anthology of women warriors, ed. Eve Lacey (For Books’ Sake)

Best Short Story Collection

Winner: Don’t Try This At Home, by Angela Readman (And Other Stories)
Runner Up: Tales of Modern Stupidity, by Quintin Forrest

Best Poetry Pamphlet

Winner: White Whale, by Victoria Kennefick (Southword Editions)
Runner Up: The Devil’s Tattoo, by Brett Evans (Indigo Dreams)

Best One-Off Event

Winner: 52 Project by Jo Bell
Runner up: OE by Max Barton, Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Tom de Freston

Best Spoken Word Show

Winner: Some People Have Too Many Legs by Jackie Hagan
Runner Up: Standby for Tape Back Up by Ross Sutherland

Best Regular Spoken Word Night

Winner: Bad Language
Runner Up: Bang Said the Gun

Best Collaborative Work:

Winner:Jacqueline Saphra, Benjamin Tassie & Mark Andrew Webber, If I Lay on my Back I Saw Nothing but Naked Women (Emma Press)
Runner Up: Melanie Rees & Sarah Miller, Selkie singing at the Passing Place (Flapjack Press)

Saboteur Awards 2016

For our sixth birthday, the awards returned to Vout-O-Reenees. We replaced the ‘Best One Off’ category, with ‘Best WIldcard’. Here are the results:

Best Collaborative Work: Fool’s World – A Tarot by Tom de Freston and Helen Ivory

Best Anthology: Being Dad: Short Stories about Fatherhood (Tangent Books)

Best Spoken Word Performer: Emily Harrison

Best Poetry Pamphlet: Border Lines by Stuart A. Paterson (Indigo Dreams Publishing)

Best Wildcard: Alchemy by Abi Palmer

Best Magazine: Prole

Best Regular Spoken Word Night: Bad Language (Manchester)

Best Short Story Collection: Dinosaurs on other planets by Danielle Mclaughlin (Stinging Fly)

Best Reviewer: Bethany W Pope

Most Innovative Publisher: Burning Eye Books

Best Novella: The Lost Art of Sinking by Naomi Booth (Penned in the Margins)

Best Spoken Word Show: What I learned from Johnny Bevan by Luke Wright

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