Booker Prize: Classic or Dud?

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And as a supplementary question, what's the best Booker prize winner (or maybe nominee) you've ever read, and what's the worst?

Nick, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

a quick inspection of the winners and nominees list reveals that i haven't read any of them. so, i'm afraid i don't know.

gareth, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Shortlists and winners here

Nick, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I was in creative writing class at Aberdeen University with Ali Smith (author of 'Hotel World'), who was even then such a talented writer that I totally fell in love with her, only discovering much later that she was gay.

Momus, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

by default: midnight's children.

fred solinger, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Oh dear, I read 'Hotel World' recently and just found it insufferably dull. There were some moving bits (the girl thinking about her dead older sister) but overall, one of those 'what for??' novels.

Nick, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Pat Barker = grate. Roddy Doyle good too. Never got past first page of Anita Brookner. Dear God C.P.Snow: what were we THINKING!

mark s, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

The full list makes pretty depressing reading, really - the usual prize-giving mix of safe choices, political choices, inexplicable choices. Brookner is esp. annoying 'cos she edged out Ballard's 'Empire Of The Sun', a much better book. Kelman should've won for 'Disaffection' (89) not 'How Late It Was, How Late' (94); Ishiguro should've won for 'An Artist Of The Floating World' (86) not 'The Remains Of The Day' (89). Still, they somehow managed to pick Kingsley Amis's two best novels - 'Ending Up' (74) and 'The Old Devils' (86 winner). Weird that there were only two novels nominated in 1975.

Andrew L, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Oh, and John Berger giving half his prize money to the Black Panthers (partly in protest at Booker's dodgy mercantile past) - classic or dud?

Andrew L, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Of the small subset of novels that I've actually read: Best winner: The Sea, The Sea - Iris Murdoch
Worst winner: The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy. Just not my kind of thing, I think

Best shortlisted: The Black Prince - Iris Murdoch again, and one of my favourite books ever
Worst shortlisted: The Folding Star - Alan Hollinghurst. YAWN.

Biggest omission - 1982 Janine - Alasdair Gray.

Nick, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

God of Small Things is fucking brillant.
ATwood is over rated.
BTW i love this list because so many of the winners are canuck !

anthony, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

A toss up for best winner between Oscar and Lucinda and Midnight's Children though I have a horrible feeling that I'll think the former dreadful in 10 years time.

Richard Tunnicliffe, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Perhaps as a supplement here someone can explain to me why Ian McEwan is considered worth reading in the first place. I went through Enduring Love based on the strong recommendation of a friend (and the fact that the title reminded me of Surviving Desire, which for some reason sparked my curiousity) and found it so poorly assembled that I was surprised at its publication.

Nitsuh, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Booker Prize = classic because it's awarded shortly before my Dad's birthday so I always know what to get him.

Booker Prize = dud becuase it's awarded shortly before my Dad's birthday so I have to buy him the winner at a hiked up price.

Madchen, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

McEwen = talentless fraud, a judgment I don't believe will be shaken when I get round to reading just ONE of his books, the posturing no-mark git. Plot of his debut The Cement Garden totally ripped off Julian Gloag's (superior I haf zero doubt) In My Mother's House.

mark s, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Just noticed Nick's bigger omission. I'd say Lanark is better than 1982 Janine but I reckon Alasdair Gray is possibly the most curiously overlooked author working in Britain. When Iain Banks receives so much attention it seems strange that Gray is almost entirely ignored.

Richard Tunnicliffe, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Most overlooked book: Jonathan Coe's 'What a Carve Up!' (1993) Most overlooked author: Geoff Dyer. So talented I can barely breathe.

T Traherne, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

BTW i love this list because so many of the winners are canuck !

I love it because so many are Indian (though I haven't read any of them).

Kris, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

and some like roi are both . The indian candain lit scene is HUGE !

anthony, Monday, 17 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

This year's shortlist: True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Oxygen by Andrew Miller
number9dream by David Mitchell
The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert
Hotel World by Ali Smith.

Nick, Tuesday, 18 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Incidentally, can I add my voice to the Ian McEwan naysayers despite never having read any of his books? I just know.

Nick, Tuesday, 18 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

From my even tinier subset (bordering on the statistically insignificant) of Bookeroos read:

Good - "Oscar and Lucinda", "Waterland" Bad - "Black Dogs", "The Folding Star"

Trying desperately to think of the last piece of literary fiction I read, then someone mentioned Geoff Dyer. I'm now sure it was "Colour of Memory", lent to me by the Pinefox around 18 months ago. And, yes, it was very good.

I've read more Ian McEwan than I'm entirely sure I wish to admit to. I can't remember much about those books, other than they were short and that "The Innocent" was the first I read (I suspect I thought he was a writer of great atmosphere and texture at that point, and so ploughed through the rest), and "Black Dogs" the last. My view that the latter was bollocks may be just something I've picked up from clever people who've told me that it is. My own opinion is long gone, possibly replaced by "how to parallel park".

Michael Jones, Tuesday, 18 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I thought Black Dogs was OK, if too slight for all the stuff McEwan tried to hang on it. The only other McEwans I've read were The Cement Garden (which I enjoyed) and The Comfort Of Strangers (which I didn't).

Richard Tunnicliffe, Tuesday, 18 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

'Black Dogs' is the only Ian McEwan novel I've read, and that was some time ago. All I remember about it is that I didn't think to much of it and I've stayed clear of him ever since.

Always the bridesmaid: Beryl Bainbridge!!!. Shoulda been a winner, it's a crime she has never been.
Also missing from the winning position: JG Ballard and Angela Carter. How these two have been ignored over the fuck awful Salman Rushdie is beyond me.
'God of Small Things' and 'Last Orders' I both liked.

DavidM, Tuesday, 18 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

and some like roi are both . The indian candain lit scene is HUGE !

Sundar should write a novel.

Kris, Tuesday, 18 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

T.Traherne is on crack: Geoff Dyer is a half- assed nitwit. (Well his book on jazz musicians was spectacularly hopeless, and I never bothered with much else...)

mark s, Tuesday, 18 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

mark s: very similar to yr dismissal of Peter Kay. I'm beginning to discern a pattern by which you recommend things *only to me*.

Michael Jones, Tuesday, 18 September 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

twelve years pass...

they're giving it to 900-page pynchonesque wig-outs by twentysomethings? I'd better get on with it :D

(anyone read?)

HAVE YOU SEEN ME? Please don't hesitate (imago), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 21:00 (six years ago) link

i bought this because it sounded fun, then read some reviews that made it sound not so fun.

i'm going to read this other 900 noir wig-out by a thirtysomething first, then maybe we'll see.

festival culture (Jordan), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 21:06 (six years ago) link

definitely interested. I thought her last one (first one) sounded like the real thing (can't remember why), didn't get round to it tho'.

Today I read a rave about this one on the millions that made made me think I would not go near it, but that is the millions really, your web home for cliche-ridden semi-literary rambles that confuse length and sincerity for thought and sense.

However, I then read Robert McCrum's bit on it:

At more than 800 pages, it left this reader wishing that Catton had also paid homage to Robert Louis Stevenson whose best line, surely, is "the only art is to omit". On page 342, Catton supplies a story-so-far from the point of view of the protagonist Walter Moody. If you are unemployed, or marooned on desert island, this timely round-up might give you the courage to investigate the next 500 pages about the mysterious death of Crosbie Wells, and explore the games Catton is playing. Then again, it might not. I doubt that a sophisticated Booker jury will inflict this monster on the reading public, even if it does look like the thing British readers crave – "the good read".

My interest rose again: I am on for anything that pisses off McCrum.

woof, Tuesday, 15 October 2013 21:18 (six years ago) link

over here nakhers

the more I read about this, the less pynchonesque it gets, and the more :-/ it gets

HAVE YOU SEEN ME? Please don't hesitate (imago), Tuesday, 15 October 2013 22:15 (six years ago) link

I didn't like her debut, admittedly possibly due to Kiwi inter-city snobbery &c.

Interesting week in the NZ media between Eleanor Catton & Lorde's successes.

etc, Tuesday, 15 October 2013 22:43 (six years ago) link

i only got 200 pages in before i got sick of lugging it round, but in that time it didnt seem v pynchonesque at all.

just sayin, Wednesday, 16 October 2013 11:20 (six years ago) link

i dunno what made LJ think Pynchon in the first place? from what i've heard/read the comparison to something like Possession seems much more apt. which is just fine with me.

footballer of the future (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 16 October 2013 11:40 (six years ago) link

epic historiographical multi-stranded mystery with zodiacal conceits, ticks a few boxes. doesn't sounds remotely as sophisticated as I'd thought but that's ok

HAVE YOU SEEN ME? Please don't hesitate (imago), Wednesday, 16 October 2013 11:46 (six years ago) link

i am just gonna not unpack sophisticated or i will get headache

footballer of the future (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 16 October 2013 12:34 (six years ago) link

LJ just got excited because it's really long.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 16 October 2013 12:36 (six years ago) link

Like this actually sounds pretty great but I don't have a Kindle and I'm fucked if I'm going to carry around another 800 page+ hardback around with me again. When's it out in paperback?

Matt DC, Wednesday, 16 October 2013 12:37 (six years ago) link

i really need an e-reader, which i once thought i'd never say

footballer of the future (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 16 October 2013 12:40 (six years ago) link

anyway, Booker books are usually rubbish so it's a small coup to pick a winner i might want to read

footballer of the future (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 16 October 2013 12:40 (six years ago) link

has anyone read the luminaries? i've been reading reviews of it and am intrigued... i'm so backed up with books i've bought but haven't read yet.

Treeship, Wednesday, 16 October 2013 13:53 (six years ago) link

four months pass...

So, has anyone read it?

sonic thedgehod (albvivertine), Monday, 10 March 2014 07:32 (six years ago) link

No, it sounds awful!

xyzzzz__, Monday, 10 March 2014 13:18 (six years ago) link

Haha I know! Boring "literary" historical fiction, Booker fodder defined. Bt I live in NZ and a lot of ppl're currently creaming themselves over her/the fact she gave a lecture in which she (MY GOD) claimed to like genre fiction and to prefer Diana Wynne Jones to Harold Bloom. This is, apptly, radical stuff in my country

sonic thedgehod (albvivertine), Tuesday, 11 March 2014 03:03 (six years ago) link

Sorry NZ that ws bitchy, just y'know

sonic thedgehod (albvivertine), Tuesday, 11 March 2014 03:20 (six years ago) link

lot of ppl

Anyone beyond D4vid L4rsen?

etc, Tuesday, 11 March 2014 04:30 (six years ago) link

A few ppl on Twitter but yeah, mostly him. I should've waited a while to say anything, given I don't rly mind now, and after all I basically agree w her. Have you read TL?

sonic thedgehod (albvivertine), Tuesday, 11 March 2014 04:37 (six years ago) link

That 4/5 fawning w/out even mentioning the ostensible subject of the piece rly is embarrassingly unworthy of publication tho

sonic thedgehod (albvivertine), Tuesday, 11 March 2014 04:43 (six years ago) link

Feeling like he had to make nice after the Guy S0merset brouhaha, IDK. Wld be unfortunate if the fallout of Sport getting axed was more VUP ppl on Twitter eh. Haven't read TL (disliked The Rehearsal); curious to see how many patriotic Xmas copies of TL end up in opshops cf The Vintner's Luck.

"To say she went all-in and gave this occasion everything she had is not to say nearly enough" is entertainingly awful cf that "New Zealand to mount defense of the Booker Prize" arts-as-sports sub-Onion thing.

etc, Tuesday, 11 March 2014 04:51 (six years ago) link

Haha. Yeah tbh my first thought when TL won ws "Cool now I'll be able to find it for a few $ at an opshop p soon", and I guess I'll give it a go then

sonic thedgehod (albvivertine), Tuesday, 11 March 2014 04:56 (six years ago) link

three years pass...

A critique of the 'about novel' and its laurels:

https://this-space.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-end-of-literature-part-3.html

pomenitul, Monday, 24 August 2020 14:39 (one month ago) link

Remember when John Carey said the modernists wrote works to exclude the masses and that was only a bad thing? Why is this any less of a travesty?

John Carey is an idiot and that book is trash.

emil.y, Monday, 24 August 2020 14:46 (one month ago) link

Funnily enough I am reading some of Woolf's diaries and thinking about her snobbery, in that she acknowledges it, it's a trait that she thinks about quite a bit instead of just being this monstrous reflex she displays.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 24 August 2020 15:14 (one month ago) link

Oh, there are definitely important discussions about modernism and elitism, it's just none of them come from Carey (source: a huge portion of my academic career).

emil.y, Monday, 24 August 2020 15:16 (one month ago) link

What is happening when book prizes and the coverage of them has much less concern for the books in themselves than for the identity of the authors and their extra-literary agendas?

i am falling asleep reading this is mostly what's happening

A Short Film About Scampoes (Noodle Vague), Monday, 24 August 2020 15:18 (one month ago) link

"What is happening when book prizes and the coverage of them has much less concern for the books in themselves than for the identity of the authors and their extra-literary agendas?" - we seriously suggesting this was ever not the case?

lol xpost

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 24 August 2020 15:20 (one month ago) link

I stopped reading at "barbarism" on the assumption it was going to be a pile-up of clichéd handwringing.

Matt DC, Monday, 24 August 2020 15:21 (one month ago) link

i mean the Booker has always been for lamebrow shit, just because they've had the temerity to put a more diverse range of writers in the longlist doesn't mean they're squeezing out a load of avant garde novels that would otherwise have placed

A Short Film About Scampoes (Noodle Vague), Monday, 24 August 2020 15:21 (one month ago) link

Defeatist, but yes, exactly.

pomenitul, Monday, 24 August 2020 15:24 (one month ago) link

Would tend to agree but I have to say I did really love Milkman by Anna Burns. A good winner imo.

emil.y, Monday, 24 August 2020 15:27 (one month ago) link

Don’t get the sense that tokarczuk or kraznahorkai are pandering to the mass market either but what do I know

agent brodie canks (wins), Monday, 24 August 2020 15:34 (one month ago) link

i accept that there are noble exceptions i was just making a bad rhetorical point, which is still true in general imo

A Short Film About Scampoes (Noodle Vague), Monday, 24 August 2020 15:36 (one month ago) link

also the International Prize feels like a different thing

A Short Film About Scampoes (Noodle Vague), Monday, 24 August 2020 15:37 (one month ago) link

Anyhow, I do think it's fair to argue that easily summarizable novels written by readily assignable authorial identities are likelier to garner the kind of praise that yields household names. Insofar as this has always been the case (including and especially when otherwise claimed), greater nominee diversity is a step forward, but the underlying concern – the triumph of subjects (in every sense of the term) over the work itself – remains. Then again, this myopia is likely embedded into the business of literary awards, and there is no escaping it short of abolishing them altogether (and even then...).

pomenitul, Monday, 24 August 2020 15:57 (one month ago) link

How many of the books have you read? How many has the blogger read?

Matt DC, Monday, 24 August 2020 15:59 (one month ago) link

Brb, will read them all and report.

pomenitul, Monday, 24 August 2020 16:02 (one month ago) link

Then again, this myopia is likely embedded into the business of literary awards

I'd say it's embedded into the very nature of canon building; as soon as you're grasping for some consensus beyond personal taste it becomes about subjects over work. The fact that the blogger thinks this a new development - as opposed to it having been ever thus, but invisibly so - makes me mistrust him.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 24 August 2020 16:05 (one month ago) link

the triumph of subjects (in every sense of the term) over the work itself

As Matt DC points out, the blogger doesn't seem to have any idea of whether this is actually the case, as they haven't read the books. So it's basically a kneejerk reaction to diversity, which makes me, uh, very suspicious of this person, to be charitable.

emil.y, Monday, 24 August 2020 16:09 (one month ago) link

How about a knee-jerk reaction to the marketing of diversity? Or is that the same thing?

pomenitul, Monday, 24 August 2020 16:12 (one month ago) link

I skimmed the article, saw the word Knausgaard several times, and closed tab

imago, Monday, 24 August 2020 16:14 (one month ago) link

xp

it always seems to be an excuse to moan about diversity imo

A Short Film About Scampoes (Noodle Vague), Monday, 24 August 2020 16:14 (one month ago) link

and almost any novel is described in terms of its subject matter at some point, this piece doesn't really have any clue about the "literary" qualities of the books simply because of how they've been described by reviewers or publicists

also content/style dichotomy, yuk

A Short Film About Scampoes (Noodle Vague), Monday, 24 August 2020 16:15 (one month ago) link

Yeah I was going to point out that the distinction that's being drawn here is inherently bullshit, but if the blogger in question hasn't read any of the books then he can only be reacting to the subjects.

Matt DC, Monday, 24 August 2020 16:17 (one month ago) link

Austen and her new-fangled 'about' fic-lite concerning love and friendship can gtf, oh but for real writing like Defoe

imago, Monday, 24 August 2020 16:20 (one month ago) link

I mean I am sympathetic to the idea that a lot of brilliant books are disbarred from award consideration in favour of simpler ones that hit the zeitgeist a little harder, but that's life yknow

imago, Monday, 24 August 2020 16:21 (one month ago) link

How about a knee-jerk reaction to the marketing of diversity? Or is that the same thing?

No, it's definitely not the same thing, but while that may have been their intention, it's not how the piece reads to me. I'd also say that debating the marketing of diversity can lead you to the same place as just debating diversity itself if you're not careful.

emil.y, Monday, 24 August 2020 16:21 (one month ago) link

(For clarity, "you" is the general you here, and the "same place" is racism. Obviously.)

emil.y, Monday, 24 August 2020 16:22 (one month ago) link

debating the marketing of diversity can lead you to the same place as just debating diversity itself if you're not careful

I, for one, believe it's a conversation worth having, even as I agree that Mitchelmore wasn't careful enough in his own blog post, which is ultimately dismissive and superficial. As an aside, I almost never feel like I'm walking on eggshells when discussing this in non-anglophone settings (not always a good thing, mind you).

pomentiful (pomenitul), Monday, 24 August 2020 16:45 (one month ago) link

Lol just had a look at the link just now and Mitchelmore was on twitter vigorously defending Peter Handke's Yoguslav tourism once the allegations came up again when he won the Nobel last year. No wonder he has problems with diversity.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 24 August 2020 16:51 (one month ago) link

Careful.

I live in a little personal pocket cancel culture, as I have an unwritten list of names I will never read, watch or listen to wherever they appear. Mostly anti-Corbyn writers, slebs, blue ticks and TV presenters. (I've never written 'blue ticks' before 😱) Anyone else do this?

— Steve Mitchelmore (@Twitchelmore) July 9, 2020

https://balkaninsight.com/2015/08/17/uk-labour-frontrunner-queried-on-kosovo-motion-08-17-2015/

https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/26919

pomentiful (pomenitul), Monday, 24 August 2020 17:01 (one month ago) link

You linked him pom.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 24 August 2020 17:09 (one month ago) link

I sure did, but that doesn't mean I'm 100% on board with his argumentation (or lack thereof).

pomentiful (pomenitul), Monday, 24 August 2020 17:12 (one month ago) link

At this stage I might accept the oncoming apocalypse gratefully if it meant that people no longer felt the need to link everything back to Jeremy Corbyn regardless of relevance.

Matt DC, Monday, 24 August 2020 17:14 (one month ago) link

Not saying that you are. But in response to me adding that context about the author you told me to be "careful" and went on to post about Corbyn. Chill out a bit xp

xyzzzz__, Monday, 24 August 2020 17:15 (one month ago) link

Mitchelmore is a real bore about post-Beckett fiction. Why was he even fucking around with a booker list and boring on about it, the guy can't even be a proper snob about it.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 24 August 2020 17:18 (one month ago) link

I was merely pointing out that support for Handke's position re: Serbia is not a deal breaker for many here and hence an ineffective line of attack as far as I'm concerned.

xp you should @ him about his subpar snobbery, it might make for more canonical blog posts in the future.

pomentiful (pomenitul), Monday, 24 August 2020 17:22 (one month ago) link

Mitchelmore's position on Handke is far more relevant because overall he seeks to elevate the art of writing as the only thing that counts, so much so that a benign award that has to play for what else is going on (the politics of the time) will be subjected to cranky, bigoted rants about diversity, cloaked in talk around aesthetics and what literature is about.

And book Twitter is full of people who go on about the decolonisation of literature as akin to hell on earth. It's a topic.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 24 August 2020 17:39 (one month ago) link

As an aside, I almost never feel like I'm walking on eggshells when discussing this in non-anglophone settings (not always a good thing, mind you).

How diverse are these non-anglophone settings? I ask just because I think that if I had this discussion w/ a group of white Portuguese ppl vs a group that included black and asian Portuguese ppl the dynamics would not be the same, to say the least.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 24 August 2020 18:16 (one month ago) link

Ime in Quebec visible minorities (Canada’s BAME/POC) are more receptive to the anglophone dynamic at play itt when the topic arises, but it’s way less pronounced. In France, you almost never hear the arguments put forth here, regardless of where your ancestors come from, and when they do come up they’re couched in endless caveats. In Romania, well, you can guess.

pomentiful (pomenitul), Monday, 24 August 2020 18:41 (one month ago) link

In France, you almost never hear the arguments put forth here, regardless of where your ancestors come from, and when they do come up they’re couched in endless caveats.

Huh, that is very much not my experience! My wife's family and friend group might be seen as outliers there, but even in the magazines she reads it's becoming more and more prevalent.

And surely "endless caveats" means you're still walking on eggshells, just from a different perspective?

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 25 August 2020 09:53 (one month ago) link

Jtbc I'm not saying that the contemporary French literary scene is oblivious to the problem of diversity. The key difference, to my mind, is that writers who come from non-white backgrounds (or women or LGBTQ+ authors) are generally keener to present themselves as predicateless writers, first and foremost, which is in keeping with the Republic's universalist, colourblind ideals, for better or for worse. Anglophone-style identity politics are often viewed as excessive and/or needlessly divisive when imported into a French context, and France's visible minorities are far likelier to agree with this reading than their British or American or Canadian counterparts. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, and challenges to this doxa have become more common in recent years, but it's still a far cry from the anglosphere.

And yeah, the eggshell-walking is definitely a matter of context. Fwiw I tend to feel like an oddity on both sides of the divide, and for opposite reasons.

pomentiful (pomenitul), Tuesday, 25 August 2020 16:12 (one month ago) link

three weeks pass...

Mantel has missed out on the shortlist, and people are angry.

https://amp.theguardian.com/books/2020/sep/15/most-diverse-booker-prize-shortlist-is-also-almost-all-american-hilary-mantel?

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 10:42 (one week ago) link

Giving the same prize to the same author for the same series of books 3 times in a row would be a bit crap.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 10:53 (one week ago) link

Yes, except it's now going to be about a white author missing out because 'diversity'.

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 11:03 (one week ago) link

True. The weird thing here is having four American authors on the shortlist. The sole Brit (Scot, actually) has lived in New York for 25 years. Tsitsi Dangarembga is from Zimbabwe.

Gerneten-flüken cake (jed_), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 11:13 (one week ago) link

I don't think the panel should overthink who wins it.

I suppose they (or any prize) should give it to Mantel if they, a contingent set of readers, think it's the best novel they've read this year. If they don't, don't. And they didn't.

Many people have always been opposed to opening this prize to US authors, and I'm inclined to agree with them.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 13:55 (one week ago) link

I'd be surprised if Mantel herself is especially bothered, she's done just fine out of this particular prize.

I wasn't sure about nominating US authors either but Lincoln In The Bardo is one of the two or three best books to have won it in the last decade (the other being A Brief History Of Seven Killings).

Matt DC, Wednesday, 16 September 2020 14:02 (one week ago) link

Mantel seems gracious and supportive of new writers so I agree.

Gerneten-flüken cake (jed_), Wednesday, 16 September 2020 21:31 (one week ago) link


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