Monday, November 22, 2021

A Legal Fiction Prize’s Future in Doubt

Attorney Bill Selnes, who blogs at Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan, brings the sad news this morning that “the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction has been put on indefinite hold.”

That commendation, honoring the author of To Kill a Mockingbird and sponsored by the University of Alabama School of Law, was created in 2010 and had been “awarded annually to a published work of fiction that best illuminates the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.” Among its winners were John Grisham, Michael Connelly, Attica Locke, and 2020’s recipient, Victor Methos.

“I had some unease about the prize in 2020,” Selnes recalls, “when the [American Bar Association’s] ABA Journal”—which had for years asked readers to weigh in on their favorite shortlisted nominees—“did not participate in the Prize. My concern proved founded this year.” He adds: “I am concerned the Prize will not be back, for it never gained as much attention as I felt the Prize deserved. I am not sure why. Legal fiction remains popular. There were strong entries every year.”

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