Man Booker Prize To Include American Authors, But Will It Lose Its Identity?

In a move that could potentially see American literary heavyweights including Jonathan Franzen, Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo being honoured for their work in the UK, organizers of the Man Booker Prize - Britain's most prestigious literary award - have announced plans to expand the contest to writers outside of Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth.

Currently, the Man Booker Prize is open to any full-length novel written by authors inside those boundaries, though a change is tact is has been designed to raise the award's profile internationally. According to the Telegraph, organisers have become increasingly concerned that excluding writers in the US in anachronistic, though opening to the entry to the States now makes hundreds more books eligible each year - something former recipient Howard Jacobson called "the wrong decision."

The broadcaster and writer Melvyn Bragg said he was "disappointed though not that surprised" by the decision, telling the Sunday Times, "The Booker will now lose its distinctiveness.It's rather like a British company being taken over by some worldwide conglomerate."

Jacobson - who famously upset the odds to win for The Finkler Question in 2010 - simply commented, "Wrong decision, that's all I'm going to say."

Several publishers and agents representing nominated acts this year were also against the decision. Colin Midson, who represents Eleanor Catton - who is nominated for The Luminaries - said, "I think it's a shame. If you look through the list of winners for the past 40 years or so it has a very strong character: there's a certain type of book we in the industry think of as 'a Booker book', and now that will be less clear."

David Godwin, a literary agent who represents Jim Crace - the favourite for this year's prize - said, "It will be even harder now for British writers to get acknowledged. The Booker should stick to its guns."

Though the award potentially losing its identity is one thing, the distinct possibility that the award may remain in the U.S for successive years is another. For example, Franzen's last two novels, Freedom and The Corrections would have presumably been in the mix for the Booker Prize. As would Phillip Roth's The Human Stain - surely.

This year's Man Booker Prize is headed by Crace and Catton, though Colm Toibin is fancied for The Testament of Mary.

Jonathan FranzenJonathan Franzen Would Almost Certainly Have Won A Booker Prize By Now


Contactmusic

Tags: Hilary Mantel

Advertisement

More Hilary Mantel

BBC Adaption Of 'Wolf Hall': What We Know So Far

It may be nearly two years since BBC Two first announced that it would be adapting Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize historical novel Wolf Hall,...

Decision To Include US Books In Man Booker Prize Splits Critics

It has been announced that from next year the Man Booker Prize will be open to all authors across the English-speaking world, including America. Previously,...

Man Booker Prize To Include American Authors, But Will It Lose Its Identity?

In a move that could potentially see American literary heavyweights including Jonathan Franzen, Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo being honoured for their work in the...

The Man Booker Prize Will Allow American Authors To Enter For The First Time In 2014

The Man Booker Prize has served as the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Commonwealth's most prestigious award for books and authors since it's inception in...

Advertisement

Will It Be Third Time Lucky for Colm Tóibín and the Man Booker Prize?

Colm Tóibín has been nominated for the Man Booker Prize for the third time, for his 2012 novel The Testament of Mary. The Irish writer...

Maggie Gyllenhaal To Star In "Scintillating" BBC Spy Thriller

After starring in the recent political thriller White House Down, Maggie Gyllenhaal will appear in the lead role in The Honorable Woman:a new BBC2 thriller...

Canadian Sheila Heti Up For Prestigious Women in Fiction Prize

One of the new names on the list of nominees for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Orange Prize) is Canadian author...

Why Has Kate Middleton Not Responded to Hilary Mantel 'Attack'?

Kate Middleton has not responded to the comments that Hilary Mantel made about her in a lecture, but the rest of the world has. Why...

Advertisement

Comments

Hilary Mantel Newsletter

Subscribe to this news alert service to receive news and reviews on Hilary Mantel

Unsubscribe | Unsubscribe All