Saturday, 24 October 2009

Man Booker Prize bibliography - 1972


"G", John Berger, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 1972. One of the most uncommon Booker Prize winners. Expect to pay over £150 for a very good copy. Signed £650.

John Peter Berger (born 5 November 1926) is an English art critic, novelist, painter and author, working mainly from a Marxist/Humanist perspective. He was born in London, and educated at the independent St Edward's School in Oxford. Berger served in the British Army from 1944 to 1946; he then enrolled in the Chelsea School of Art and the Central School of Art in London. He began his career as a painter and exhibited work at a number of London galleries in the late 1940s - Berger has continued to paint throughout his career. While teaching drawing (from 1948 to 1955), Berger became an art critic, publishing many essays and reviews in the New Statesman. His Marxist humanism and his strongly stated opinions on modern art made him a controversial figure early in his career. After a childless first marriage, Berger has three children: Jacob, a film director; Katya, a writer and film critic; and Yves, an artist. His writing has been influential in a number of fields. Of his novels, G is undoubtedly the best known; "From A to Z" was also longlisted for the 2009 Man Booker Prize.

"In this luminous novel - winner of Britain's prestigious Booker Prize - John Berger relates the story of "G.", a young man forging an energetic sexual career in Europe during the early years of this century. With profound compassion, Berger explores the hearts and minds of both men and women, and what happens during sex, to reveal the conditions of Don Juan's success: his essential loneliness, the quiet culmination in each of his sexual experiences of all those that precede it, the tenderness that infuses even the briefest of his encounters, and the way women experience their own extraordinariness through their moments with him. All of this Berger sets against the turbulent backdrop of Garibaldi and the failed revolution of Milanese workers in 1989, the Boer War, and the first flight across the Alps, making G. a brilliant novel about the search for intimacy in history's private moments."

"The Bird of Night", Susan Hill, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1972. Reasonably common - expect to pay around £20 for a very good or better copy.

Susan Hill is a British author of fiction and non-fiction works. She was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire in 1942. She attended Scarborough Convent School, where she became interested in theatre and literature. Her family left Scarborough in 1958 and moved to Coventry where her father worked in car and aircraft factories. She attended a girls’ grammar school, Barr's Hill, proceeding to an English degree at King's College London. By this time she had already written her first novel, The Enclosure which was published by Hutchinson in her first year at university. The novel was criticised by The Daily Mail for its sexual content, with the suggestion that writing in this style was unsuitable for a "schoolgirl". In 1975 she married Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells and they moved to Stratford upon Avon. Their first daughter, author Jessica Ruston, was born in 1977 and their second daughter, Clemency, was born in 1985. Hill has recently founded her own publishing company, Long Barn Books, which has published one work of fiction per year. Apart from Bird of Night, her novels include the The Woman in Black, The Mist in the Mirror and I'm the King of the Castle for which she received the Somerset Maugham Award in 1971.

"Francis Croft, the greates poet of his age, was mad. His world was a nightmare of internal furies and haunting poetic vision. Harvey Lawson watched and protected him unti his final suicide. From his solitary old age Harvey writes this brief account of their twenty years together and then burns all the papers to shut out an inquisitive world. The tautness and control that characterize Susan Hill's work are abundantly evident in The Bird of Night as she magnificently handles the heights and depths, the splendours and miseries of madness and friendship."

"The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith", Thomas Keneally, Angus and Robertson, 1972. Uncommon - expect to pay over £40 for a very good copy. My copy shows the publisher as Angus and Robertson and lists addresses including Sydney, London, Melbourne, Brisbane and Singapore. The book was printed in Australia by Halstead Press, Sydney. So far as I am aware, there is not a UK printed first edition, but I would be very interested if anyone can confirm or correct this.

Thomas Keneally was born in Sydney, in October, 1935, and educated at St Patrick's College, Strathfield, where a writing prize was named after him. He entered St Patrick's Seminary, Manly to train as a Catholic priest but left before his ordination. He worked as a Sydney schoolteacher before his success as a novelist, and he was a lecturer at the University of New England (1968-70). He has also written screenplays, memoirs and non-fiction books. Keneally was known as "Mick" until 1964 but began using the name Thomas when he started publishing, after advice from his publisher to use what was really his first name. He is most famous for his Schindler's Ark (1982) (later republished as Schindler's List), which won the Booker Prize and is the basis of the film Schindler's List. Many of his novels are reworkings of historical material, although modern in their psychology and style. Keneally has also acted in a handful of films. He had a small role in the film of The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith and played Father Marshall in the Fred Schepisi movie, The Devil's Playground (1976). He is a strong advocate of the Australian republic, meaning the severing of all ties with the British monarchy, and published a book on the subject Our Republic in 1993. Several of his Republican essays appear on the web site of the Australian Republican Movement. Keneally is a keen supporter of rugby league football, in particular the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles club of the NRL.

"Jimmie Blacksmith is the son of an Aboriginal mother and a white father. A missionary shows him what it means to be white - already he is only too aware of what it means to be black. Exploited by his white employers and betrayed by his white wife Jimmie cannot take any more. He must find a way to express his rage.
"The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith is based on an actual incident that occurred at the turn of the century. Set against the background of a turbulent Australian history, Thomas Keneally records with clarity the chant of one troubled man."

"Pasmore", David Storey, Longman, London, 1972. Readily available at less than £10.

David Malcolm Storey (born 13 July 1933) is an English playwright, screenwriter, award winning novelist and a former professional Rugby League player. He was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, the son of a miner, and educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School Wakefield. After completing his schooling at Wakefield at age 17, Storey signed a 15-year contract with the Leeds Rugby League Club; he also won a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art in London. When the conflict between rugby and painting became too great, he paid back three-quarters of his signing-on fee, and Leeds let him go. Storey wrote the screenplay for This Sporting Life (1963), directed by Lindsay Anderson, adapted from Storey's first novel of the same name, originally published in 1960, which won the 1960 Macmillan Fiction Award. The film was the beginning of a long professional association with Anderson,[1] whose film version of Storey's play In Celebration was released as part of the American Film Theatre series in 1975. Home and Early Days (both starred Sir Ralph Richardson) were made into television films. Apart from Pasmore, Storey's novels include Flight into Camden, which won the 1963 Somerset Maugham Award; and the 1961 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize; and Saville, which won the 1976 Booker Prize.
"Colin Pasmore is almost thirty, a lecturer in history at a university college in London. Married, with three young children, settled in his job as well as in his provate life, he is suddenly beset by a dream which, almost without his being aware of it, undermines his entire life. He sees his home, his friends, his work gradually slip away from him; terrified and bewildered, he seems condemned irretrievably to experience the total destruction not only of the life he know but of his own moral and psychic nature."
Not a lot of laughs then!

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