Saboteur Awards

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) 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 2020

Best Spoken Word Performer: Dominic Berry

Best Short Story Collection: Witches Sail in Eggshells, and other stories by Chloe Turner

Best Collaborative Work: Life Behind Bards, featuring Sadie Davidson, Josh Chamberlain, Patrick Crowley, Sonny Green, Danny Martin, and Aaron Shrimptom

Best Magazine: Mslexia

Best Novella: The Neverlands by Damhnait Monaghan

Best Literary Festival: Leeds Lit Fest

Best Anthology: The Real Jazz Baby

Best Spoken Word Show: The Remains of Logan Dankworth by Luke Wright

Best Poetry Pamphlet: The Collective Nouns For Birds by Amanda Huggins

Best Reviewer of Literature: Emma Lee

Most Innovative Publisher: Retreat West

Best Regular Spoken Word Night: Punk in Drublic, Manchester

Saboteur Awards 2019

Best Spoken Word Performer: Jamie Thrasivoulou

Best Short Story Collection: Table Manners by Susmita Bhattacharya

Best Collaborative Work: Man up, by Restoke

Best Magazine: Here Comes Everyone

Best Novella: Three Sisters of Stone by Stephanie Hutton

Best Literary Festival: Verve Poetry Festival

Best Anthology: High Spirits: A round of drinking stories, edited by Jonathan Taylor and Karen Stevens

Best Spoken Word Show: Don’t Bother by Broccan Tyzack-Carlin

Best Poetry Pamphlet: After Engine Trouble by Luke Wright

Best Reviewer of Literature: Emma Lee

Most Innovative Publisher: Verve Poetry Press

Best Regular Spoken Word Night: Word Wise, Derby

Saboteur Awards 2018

Best Anthology: #MeToo: A Women’s Poetry Anthology

Best Collaborative Work: Inheritance by Ruth Stacey and Katy Wareham Morris

Best Reviewer: Jade Cuttle

Most Innovative Publisher: 404 Ink

Best Spoken Word Show: This is Not a Safe Space by Jackie Hagan

Best Regular Spoken Word Night: Verbose (Manchester)

Best Poetry Pamphlet: Rice & Rain by Romalyn Ante

Best Novella: How to Make a Window Snake by Charmaine Wilkerson

Best Wildcard: Yours Faithfully, Edna Wellthorpe

Best Magazine: Into the Void

Best Short Story Collection: Hings by Chris McQueer

Best Spoken Word Performer: Shruti Chauhan

Saboteur Awards 2017

Best Wildcard  – this category was supported by Literature Wales, as part of International Dylan Thomas Day : Women Aloud NI

Best Anthology ​Remembering Oluwale (Valley Press)

Best Spoken Word Performer​ Dominic Berry

Best Reviewer​ Freya McClements

Best Poetry Pamphlet Glass by Elisabeth Sennitt Clough (Paper Swans Press)

Best Spoken Word Show Fat Girls Don’t Dance by Maria Ferguson

Best Novella The Night Visitors by Jenn Ashworth & Richard Hirst (Dead Ink)

Best Magazine Into the Void

Best Regular Spoken Word Night ​Interrobang?! (Edinburgh)

Best Short Story Collection ​Wild Gestures by Lucy Durneen (MidnightSun Publishing)

Best Collaborative Work WomenXBorders – Women Aloud 2017 & Irish Writers Centre

Most Innovative Publisher Indigo Dreams Publishing

The full shortlist and longlist can be viewed here

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 WorkFool’s World – A Tarot by Tom de Freston and Helen Ivory

Best AnthologyBeing Dad: Short Stories about Fatherhood (Tangent Books)

Best Spoken Word PerformerEmily Harrison

Best Poetry PamphletBorder Lines by Stuart A. Paterson (Indigo Dreams Publishing)

Best WildcardAlchemy by Abi Palmer

Best MagazineProle

Best Regular Spoken Word NightBad Language (Manchester)

Best Short Story CollectionDinosaurs on other planets by Danielle Mclaughlin (Stinging Fly)

Best ReviewerBethany W Pope

Most Innovative PublisherBurning Eye Books

Best NovellaThe Lost Art of Sinking by Naomi Booth (Penned in the Margins)

Best Spoken Word ShowWhat I learned from Johnny Bevan by Luke Wright

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 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 2013, Nikesh Shukla, Time Machine (Galley Beggar), Kirsten Irving and Jon Stone, Riotous (Sidekick Books).

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 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 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.

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