Thursday, July 30, 2009

Man Booker Prize... The Who, What, Where of this Literary Honor

On Tuesday July 28th the 2009 Man Booker Dozen were announced. The Man Booker Dozen is like a baker's dozen, because it's a list of 13 books that are chosen to compete for the coveted Man Booker Prize for Fiction. This list is also called the longlist, because on Sept. 8th of this year the list will get smaller (also known as the shortlist) until Oct. 6th when the Man Booker Prize will be awarded.

What exactly is The Man Booker Prize? The prize, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, aims to reward the best novel of the year. Books eligible for the Man Booker prize must be written in English, but not by an author from the USA. So Australians, Indians, Irish, Canadians and Caribbean authors, amongst others, are eligible. Actually any citizen from the Commonwealth or The Republic of Ireland. Past winners are automatically considered, as are those short-listed in the past ten years. The novel must be an original work in English (not a translation), full length and must not be self-published. The judges on the panel include a literary critic, an academic, a literary editor, a novelist and a major figure. Publishers can submit 2 books. And then there's something called "The Call In's"... those are other titles beyond the publishers limit of 2 books that they wish the judges to consider. And the judges are obligated to "call in" 8 to 15 additional titles. But it seems the judges usually find these books "entertaining" more than anything else. The prize is $50,000 GBP or $82,432 in US dollars. But the money isn't the only thing that the writer receives- he or she achieves an amazing amount of worldwide fame & publicity!

But what I found really interesting was reading the judges blog on the Man Booker Prize website! In their blog they "talk" about the process of picking the books... how every year the judges identify themes. This year there were quite a few books about the WWII. ( Our book club saw that in more than a few choices we read this year!) They also talk about the liberties some authors take with historical fiction- are inaccuracies a killer? They also pay attention to best and worst opening sentences.... And they read all the books submitted, which this year was well over 100! Here's a link to the Judges Blog if you'd like to read it! And here's the link to the Chair's Blog, who also gives us some interesting insights.

So, Here's the Man Booker Prize Longlist:

AS Byatt..................... The Children's Book

J M Coetzee............... Summertime

Adam Foulds............. The Quickening Maze

Sarah Hall.................. How to paint a dead man

Samantha Harvey..... *The Wilderness

James Lever.............. Me Cheeta

Hilary Mantel............ Wolf Hall

Simon Mawer............ The Glass Room

Ed O'Loughlin............ Not Untrue & Not Unkind

James Scudamore..... Heliopolis

Colm Toibin ............... *Brooklyn

William Trevor .......... Love and Summer

Sarah Waters ............. *The Little Stranger

And if you're interested to learn a little more about these books, go to The Man Booker longlist . And just as a little aside, there is also The Man Booker International Prize, awarded every two years to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language. The judges use their own discretion in choosing the author. This year the winner is Alice Munro! You can read more about that here.

What was the best book you've read this year?! Have you read any of these books? Any predictions on the winner? Leave a comment and let me know about any of the books here! And if you think they left out any book you think should be here!

*P.S. The books with asterisk's are Kindle Ready!

Happy reading....

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