Man Booker Prize Judge: It Was Too Close to Call, but Mantel Wrote 'Best Book'
Man Booker Prize judge Amanda Foreman has written an article for The Telegraph, explaining how she and her fellow judges opted for Hilary Mantel as the winner of this year's award for her historical novel 'Bring up the Bodies.'
There has been some consternation that Will Self had not taken the award for his sprawling avant-garde book 'Umbrella,' though Foreman makes it clear that the panel were hired to pick the year's 'best' book, not the most ambitious. The bookies just favoured journalist-turned-novelist Self to take the award, though Mantel was always going to be a worthy winner. Foreman writes "On the eve of our final deliberations, the bookmakers announced the prize was too close to call. They were right: the collegiate nature of our panel, its method of collective process and adherence to dialogue rather than advocacy, ensured that we began yesterday's meeting with the same open approach as usual." The Evening Standard has since revealed that "at least" two of the five judges were in favour of 'Umbrella' to win the prestigious prize, with another only just swaying towards Mantel. Foreman recalls, "Three hours into the meeting we paused to have the rules read out again to us. By this time we were so focused on the novels themselves, we needed to have that reminder of our ultimate purpose. Were we choosing the most ambitious novel of the year, the most original, the most accomplished, or simply the best? The wording of the Man Booker is unequivocal in that regard: it is the best." Foreman revealed how chair Sir Peter Stothard held up his hand at 3pm and declared "it was apparent that Hilary Mantel was the winner." She became the first Briton and first woman to win the Man Booker twice.
Unsurprisingly, both of Mantel's Booker winning novels - Bring up the Bodies and Wolf Hall - have rocketed to the top of Amazon's best sellers chart.