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Literary Awards in Freebase

19:04 Tue 29 Apr 2008
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I’ve been playing around with literary awards in Freebase recently, mainly the novel/fiction Booker, Pulitzer, National Book Award, Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards.

Naturally, looking at long lists of books, the first thing I realize is how few of them I’ve read, and how I’ve never heard of lots of them. I haven’t been reading much recently, but these lists have plenty of ideas in case I needed any.

One of the reasons I wanted to input a bunch of the winner data (the data on nominees/shortlists is a project I have yet to undertake) was to do some comparisons between the sets, particularly gender comparisons. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I did find some other things—such as the fact that Michael Chabon appears to be the first person ever to have been awarded one of the Pulitzer/Booker/National Book Awards for fiction (Pulitzer for Fiction in 2001 for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay) and one of the Hugo/Nebula/Locus novel awards (Nebula in 2007 for The Yiddish Policemen’s Union).

I’m not sure that the Pulitzer, Booker and National Book awards really constitute the “big three”, but I’m not sure what competition there is, apart from the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, which is better in some respects (partly due to the fact that it’s not geographically-based) but has only been giving awards since 1996. (I’ll enter its data into Freebase as soon as I’m sure I’m using the correct model for translated works.)

As for the genre side, I’ve only looked at the Locus science fiction award, not its fantasy award. In addition, the British Science Fiction Awards are probably worth including as well.

One of the great things about the Freebase technology is that it’s really easy to add more constraints like that. There’s a Wikipedia list of joint winners of Hugo and Nebula awards, but once the data was in Freebase it was really easy to turn that into a list of novels that have won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards combined.