The Man Booker prize, hosted in the U.K. , has been around for nearly 50 years. The winner receives some cash but better than that, recognition by their peers and inevitably, a huge increase in book sales. In 2014 American offerings became eligible for the prize and (scandal!) this year Americans make up half the list. Critics blame publishers: big publishers are able to submit more books and America is home to many large publishing companies.
However, in the article linked above, the Chairman of the judging panel points out that they judge what is submitted, without considering gender or country of origin. Of the books on the shortlist, I have only read Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. Actually I started it but the writing style was so unique that I couldn’t get into the story (this innovative style is probably one of the reasons it was nominated by literary experts). Coincidentally, just picked up History of Wolves, Emily Fridlund’s debut novel from the holds shelf at my local library, so this is on my “to read list.”
Other books on my reading list: just finished The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, such an easy, yet thoughtful, charming read. Have also just discovered Claire Messud (I know, I’m late to the party), read The Woman Upstairs and The Emperor’s Children is on deck. Also reading, Under a Pole Star, by Stef Penney- I participated in a book exchange recently, received and loved her novel The Tenderness of Wolves.
For some Man Booker Fun Facts- stats about nominations, books made into movies, how many novels have been authored by women v. men, check out the Man Booker website.
Happy Weekend Reading