Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Lost Man Booker Prize

Peter Straus, honorary archivist to the Booker Prize Foundation, has come up with a neat twist on the Booker Prize for best novel this next time around. It seems a rule change made in 1971 had the effect of eliminating from consideration every single novel published in 1970.

Booksellers (New Zealand) explains it this way:

In 1971, just two years after it began, the Booker Prize ceased to be awarded retrospectively and became a prize for the best novel in the year of publication. At the same time, the award moved from April to November, creating a whole year's gap when fiction published in1970 fell through the net.

So now, some 29 years later, a group of 1970 finalists has been released. From this group of finalists, a short list will be announced in March and, from that short list, the "international reading public" will choose the winner (to be announced in May 2010).

These are the 22 finalists:
The Hand Reared Boy - Brian Aldiss
A Little Of What You Fancy? - H.E.Bates
The Birds On The Trees - Nina Bawden
A Place In England - Melvyn Bragg
Down All The Days - Christy Brown
Bomber - Len Deighton
Troubles - J.G.Farrell
The Circle Elaine - Feinstein
The Bay Of Noon - Shirley Hazzard
A Clubbable Woman - Reginald Hill
I'm The King Of The Castle - Susan Hill
A Domestic Anima -l Francis King
The Fire Dwellers - Margaret Laurence
Out Of The Shelter - David Lodge
A Fairly Honourable Defeat - Iris Murdoch
Fireflies - Shiva Naipaul
Master and Commander - Patrick O'Brian
Head To Toe - Joe Orton
Fire From Heaven - Mary Renault
A Guilty Thing Surprised - Ruth Rendell
The Driver's Seat - Muriel Spark
The Vivisector - Patrick White
If you like this kind of thing, keep your eyes and ears open so that you don't miss your chance to vote. I'm sorry to say that I've only read two of these twenty-two finalists (embarrassed is probably a better word for how I feel about that) so I hope to do a little catching up before the voting period. I know, I know...good intentions get you nowhere by themselves.


  1. I recognize many of the authors, but not the titles. Only Master and Commander stands out. You could probably find many at the library (encouraging you to do more of what you're already doing).