Be prepared to see an unnerving lack of u's and a frightful number of alternative spellings as American writers will be allowed to enter the Man Booker Prize starting next year.
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 1969. On Sunday, 15 September, The Sunday Times reported that a change was heading it's way, as authors from the other side of the pond will be able to submit entries to the award for the first time ever starting in 2014.
Hilary Mantel won the award last year
The report from the Times revealed plans from the heads of the award to open the prize up to a wider pool of talent, and in doing so open it up to a wider audience. In a bid further cement the reputation of the Man Booker Prize as the one of world's leading awards for writers, the organisers have deemed the American market as a keen demographic to infiltrate and ensure that interest is maintained and entries are still regularly submitted. According to the Times, "the organisers increasingly believe that excluding writers from America is anachronistic. The Booker committee believes US writers must be allowed to compete to ensure the award's global reputation."
Of course this decision was not going to sit well with everyone and indeed some of the Booker purists have spoken out against the move. Esteemed broadcaster and writer Melvyn Bragg spoke to the Times in their report of the changes being made to the award, in which he voiced his displeasure at what he deemed a disappointing yet inevitable altercation. He was quoted as saying he was “disappointed ... though not that surprised. The Booker will now lose its distinctiveness. It's rather like a British company being taken over by some worldwide conglomerate.”
Melvyn Bragg isn't best pleased by the changes
The Man Booker Prize is usually awarded towards the end of the year and this year's nominees were unveiled on Tuesday, 10 September. They include Canadian-American Ruth Ozeki for her book A Tale For The Time Being, We Need New Names by Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo, Jim Crace's Harvest, The Testament Of Mary by Colm Toibin, The Luminaries by 27-year-old Eleanor Catton - the youngest of the nominees - and The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. The winner of the award will be announced on 5 October 2013.