This coming Tuesday, on July 24, the Man Booker Prize 2018 longlist will be announced in London. It’s a pity that the Prize committee changed its eligibility rules a few years back. I favored the original sui generis eligibility criteria, where only British authors and authors from the former Commonwealth, Ireland and Zimbabwe could qualify for the competition.
Now it is open to all authors of books written in English, no matter where they come from, as long as the book they wrote was published in the UK. Distinctiveness of the competition is a thing of the past. As most expected, the American publishing industry with its financial and marketing clout has dominated the submission process. The last two winners have been American.
I think that it is time for the committee to seriously reconsider going back to the original eligibility rules and restore the unique nature of the Man Booker competition. I would like to know whether you agree or disagree with me.
It’s that time of year again! The 2016 Man Booker Prize longlist will be announced tomorrow at noon London time. Those of you who have been reading this blog over the last five years know that I post frequently on the competition, including reviews of the selections. Those among you who wager, please take note that I have picked the last two winners, so following my blog might be advantageous to you. I’ll be up tomorrow morning at 6:00 am Chicago time posting the longlist.
Yesterday, I was greatly saddened learning about the death of author Doris Lessing. Ms. Lessing, along with Iris Murdoch and Nadine Gordimer represented a trio of brilliant British and colonial women authors who were born in the aftermath of the First World War and came into young adulthood at the onset of the Second World War. Now only Ms. Gordimer, the South African, is still with us.
All three of these women were proudly independent in a male-dominated world, and all three became actively engaged in leftist politics, with Lessing and Murdoch actually joining the Communist Party. Lessing and Gordimer won Nobel Prizes in Literature, and Gordimer and Murdoch won Booker Prizes. If the Booker Prize were around in 1962, I am sure Ms. Lessing would have won it for The Golden Notebook.
Although she was a Londoner for more than sixty years, Doris Lessing never felt completely at home in England. She always claimed that the British never accepted her as one of their own. Her nearly thirty years living in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) shaped her personality and allowed her, like Gordimer, to identify with the Black African majority in her country.
Farewell Ms. Lessing. You were truly one of the great literary grande dames of our times.
It certainly is a surprising Man Booker Prize longlist for 2012. Four of the books are debut novels, and only Hilary Mantel is a previous Booker winner. Here is the list:
The Yips — by Nicola Barker
The Teleportation Accident –by Ned Beauman
Philida — by Andre Brink
The Garden of Evening Mists— by Tan Twan Eng
Skios— by Michael Frayn
The Unlikely Pilgramage of Harold Fry — by Rachel Joyce
Swimming Home —by Deborah Levy
Bringing up the Bodies — Hilary Mantel
The Lighthouse — by Alison Moore
Umbrella — by Will Self
Narcopolis — by Jeet Thayil
Communion Town — by Sam Thompson
Currently only four of these twelve novels are available in the U.S. As soon as I can obtain copies of these books and read them, I will begin posting my reviews. Stay tuned! Continue reading