Sunday, 16 October 2011

Who will win the Man Booker Prize 2011?

The winner of the Man Booker Prize will be announced this week on 18th October.  There is some controversy around the prize most years.  Inevitably, when a panel of judges attempt to select the literary novel of the year many readers are likely to disagree with their choice.  This year’s panel (chaired by Stella Rimington, former MI5 chief) have mainly been criticized for being too populist.  The shortlist they have chosen certainly includes books which in previous years would have been unlikely choices (the first Western to be shortlisted in the history of the prize, and a post-communist Moscow thriller).  The panel have indicated that they place a high value on readability and probably less value on the traditional indicators of literary excellence – whether or not you agree with this is likely to depend on your personal perspective.  In the last week a proposal has emerged for a new prize (The Literature Prize) to uphold more traditional values.  This appears to have the support of a number of prominent authors and it will be interesting to see what comes from it.

So what about this year’s shortlist?  I suspect that the winner will come from The Sense of an Ending, Pigeon English or Jamrach’s Menagerie, and I would rank the likelihood in that order.  If any of the other shortlisted books win it really would be a surprise.  However, as usual we will see on Tuesday night...

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