Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Change in the Rules?

Hello all, it's Booker Prize Announcement Day!  While I have been hovering over the imminent release of this year's Man Booker Prize winner, I stumbled across some serious prize news (and maybe you all already know this and I am just living under a rock but...) Next year they are going to start incluindg works by American authors??!?!

Can we discuss this??

As an American, on the one hand I've always been a little irked by this commonwealth-only stuffiness.  It feels a little like its affirming a certain Colonialst mindset (No, you can't participate because you rebelled against British Rule before it was OK).  But on the other hand, there are already several American literature prizes, and I read the winners and moninees of those from time to time to get my fix of American literature.  One thing I've always liked about the Booker is that it is my window into the rest of English literature, and I get to read high-quality works by authors from incredibly diverse international perspecitves.  So if this means that the Bookers will now consist of mostly American works (and I am by no means suggesting that this will inevitably be the case), then maybe this is a disappointing change in the rules.

Anyone else excited/disappointed?


  1. I'm more concerned that it will crowd out literature from other parts of the world deserving of recognition or promotion. It's like you say, the Americans have numerous lists of awards with more awards being given out yearly.

  2. I keep wondering WHY they are going down this path. One commentator suggested the Booker organisers are doing this in the belief this will attract even more advantageous publicity. But I can't imagine any tv station giving air time to the awards announcement the way the BBC does here. Is it because they fear competition from the Folio Society who are introducing their international award this year?

  3. I'm disappointed. I like that the Booker has been a British/Commonwealth award. It introduced me to a lot of writers I never would have read, and brought a lot of lesser-known books to the US that never would have been published here. Boo.

  4. I'm with the others here, this decision is a disgrace. The quaint "commonwealth" rule has allowed us to come across novels that explore that actual theme (and there have been innumerable), now we will have the list crowded with Roth, De Lillo etc & there is enough exposure for these guys as it is. I occasionally read the Pulitzer lists and it is markedly different in style, and rightfully so. This decision could well mean the end of my Booker reading and promotion as it is. There's plenty of other awards I can focus on.