Below is a brief history of previous awards.
Once a year, to mark our birthday, we at Sabotage like to give out some awards to the publications we’ve most enjoyed during the year. It’s on May 1st by the way, and don’t worry, you don’t have to get us anything (though we won’t say no to cake, if you want to send us some).
We call them the Saboteur Awards, and they’re open to any publication we’ve reviewed since we last gave awards out – usually focused on a single issue of a long-running publication, rather than the publication as a whole. Awards are given for publications that impress us with their design or their content or their ethos or with how much we enjoy them or a combination of all of those things. We don’t have any hard-and-fast categories, and we tend to give out special awards if there’s something that just catches our eye but doesn’t fit into an easy pigeonhole.
Unfortunately, the Saboteur Awards don’t confer on the winner anything more tangible than a badge to put on their website and some kudos – but who doesn’t enjoy getting a bit of kudos, right? We also don’t have a glitzy presentation ceremony, with glamorous celebrities and world-famous comedians as hosts (sorry about that). But we hope that, in our own small way, a Saboteur Award shows the people behind publications that their hard work has been noticed and appreciated. It’s a small way of celebrating achievement in the literary world.
So far, Saboteur Awards have concentrated on journals, zines and longer-running publications (be they in print or online), and we don’t yet have awards for single collections or anthologies, nor for performance poetry. A publication is automatically entered for a Saboteur Award when we publish a review.
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.
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.
Third Place: Anon