“I was shocked and dismayed,” she told the Globe and Mail. “I just felt compelled to take action.”
Thus was the Rosalind Prize for Fiction born, a literary prize exclusively for female writers of fiction in Canada.
The prize is named after the sharp and witty female protagonist in Shakespeare’s play, “As You Like It.” It’s also the name of British biophysicist Rosalind Franklin, whose largely overlooked contributions helped lay the groundwork for the discovery of DNA.
Zawerbny hopes to present the inaugural Rosalind Prize in 2014.
That’s one year after Australia will award its first Stella Prize, that country’s first major literary award for women. Named after novelist Stella Maria Miles Franklin (“My Brilliant Career”), the $50,000 prize is open for both fiction and non-fiction.
“The Stella Prize will raise the profile and the sales of books by women,” Stella Prize Chair Aviva Tuffield said of the award, according to the blog IndieWire. “We want to encourage future generations of women writers, by increasing the recognition for Australian women's writing and supporting strong female role models. We also want to celebrate women's contribution to Australian literature.”