Saboteur Awards

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/performances we’ve most enjoyed during the year. It’s on May 31st 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/performance we’ve reviewed or had brought to our attention 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/events that impress us with their design or their enthusiasm or their content or their ethos or with how much we enjoy them or a combination of all of those things. We don’t always have hard-and-fast categories, and we sometimes 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 and some kudos – but who doesn’t enjoy getting a bit of kudos, right? 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.

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).