Can Hilary Mantel Make Man Booker Prize History?12 September 2012
It’s going to be a long five weeks for Hilary Mantel. But that is how long she will have to wait until she finds out if she’s going to make history in the literary world. Mantel has been shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize and if she walks away with the title, she will have become the first British author to have won the accolade more than once in their career.
Mantel has ben nominated for her novel Bring Up the Bodies; the follow-up to her 2009 Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall. She’s a firm favourite to win this year’s award but she faces strong competition. The revered novelist Will Self is also a bookies’ favourite, for his nominated novel ‘Umbrella,’ which tells the story of “a victim of the sleeping sickness epidemic at the end of the first world war.” It’s a 400-page novel, without chapter breaks or paragraphs. According to The Guardian, Peter Stothard, who chairs the Booker prize’s judging panel, insists that readers who persevere with Self’s novel “will be rewarded.”
Although Mantel and Self are emerging as favourites for the prize, this year’s shortlist is also notable for the up-and-coming authors, some of whom have struggled to get their novels published in recent years. Deborah Levy has been nominated for Swimming Home – her first published novel in fifteen years. In 2008 when she tried to get the novel published, she was met with rejection: “It was widely admired and all the rest of it but the feeling was that it was too literary, not commercial enough." The greater the thrill then, to finally have the novel published and nominated for such a highly revered prize. Jeet Thayil, Alison Moore and Tan Twan Eng are also nominated. The prize will be announced on October 16, 2012.
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