Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Man Booker Prize Expands its Eligibility Rules

It was just announced that the very prestigious Man Booker prize, which has always been awarded annually to a book by a British or Commonwealth author, will, starting next year, make eligible any novel written in English and published in Britain. The reaction among the British, Australians, and others is consternation. Some say they fear that American novels will dominate the competition. In the past, the competition for the Booker, with its carefully spaced announcements of the long list, then the short list, and then the winner, has created audiences for many books from, for example, Indian authors whose books might otherwise receive little exposure. I don’t have strong feelings about this, but I do associate the Man Booker (formerly the Booker) Prize with the best of Britain and the Commonwealth, and I have been introduced to some books I wouldn’t know about otherwise by perusing the long and short lists and the prize winners.

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