The NS Public Award returns in a new guise, reports the Collective Propaganda of the Dutch Book Foundation (CPNB). Last year, large-scale voting fraud was committed, after which the award ceremony was cancelled. To prevent a recurrence, the CPNB, which organizes the public award, has taken three measures this year.
“The most visible change is the scrapping of free choice. People can only vote for the six books that were sold best between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023,” says Eveline Aendekerk, director of CPNB, in an interview with the literary trade magazine Boekblad. .
Secondly, the regulations are applied more strictly, she says. The prize has always been open only to fiction and narrative non-fiction, but now there will be a special committee to see whether books actually fall under that genre. Finally, there will be an email verification for voters.
The voting procedure was manipulated on a large scale in 2022. This came to light after reports that the email address of MPs was used to vote for Thierry Baudet’s book, Het Coronabedrog.
The CPNB came up with a solution: people who wanted to vote for a book first received an email with which they have to verify their vote. Despite that adjustment, the CPNB said it became impossible to hold a credible vote.
“We intervened during the process, but there was nothing that could be done against the highly advanced proton scripts – a form of digital voting manipulation – which destroyed the link with the email address immediately after the vote was cast,” said Aendekerk in the interview. “We couldn’t figure out which voice was real and which was fake. And that was with all books.”
The voting period and presentation have been brought forward this year because of the parliamentary elections on 22 November, so that those elections have no influence on the Audience Award. The nominations will be announced on October 11, the winner on November 8.
The last winner of the NS Audience Award was Lale Gül with her book Ik ga leven.
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