Booker Prize now open to all English-language novels

“The Man Booker Prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year. The prize is the world’s most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and publishers.” -from the Man Booker Prize website

The Booker Prize is a major annual literary prize, and a recently announced rule change concerning who is eligible to win is making waves in the publishing world. Historically, the Booker Prize had been open to English-language novels from Britain and the Commonwealth, which included authors from Canada, India, and Australia, but excluded authors from the United States. Now, eligibility has been expanded to include any novel written in the English language. [Edited to add: and published in the U.K. -10/17/13]

Author and publisher reactions have varied, depending on whether they are suddenly eligible (Americans) or suddenly facing more competition (British & Commonwealth). The two major American literary prizes, the Pulitzer and the National Book Award, are still only open to Americans.

Read more:

“Reactions to the expansion announcement” from the Man Booker Prize site

“The backlash to the American invasion of the Booker Prize” from The New York Times

See a list of previous Booker Prize winners from Wikipedia.

What do you think of this rule change? Have you ever bought and/or read a book simply because it won a prize – the Booker or any other? Which Booker Prize winner is your favorite? Leave a comment to reply.

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6 Responses to Booker Prize now open to all English-language novels

  1. So many I can’t remember.
    If you had a list of Booker Prize winners, I could tell you.
    Didn’t ‘God of Small things’ win as well (I read that 13 years ago – so I’m not sure).

  2. Thanks, yeah I should have just chked at Wikipedia in the first place.
    Yes, surprisingly there were few books on the list that I’ve read, and I’m an avid reader. (though I’ve watched some of the movie adaptations).
    But most of my favourite contemporary authors like isherwood, Burgess, Fitzgerald, Capote, Calvino, et al are missing, as the Booker prize only started in 69′. I think I’ve read more Pulitzer Prize winners.

  3. linda says:

    I feel conflicted about this change. On the one hand, the Booker has been a great way to discover books and authors that we (Americans) are less likely to have heard about otherwise. On the other hand, I understand how fluid nationality can be and it makes a sort of sense to open it up to all books written in English. I’m curious to see how this goes.

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