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Monday, October 22, 2007 12:53 pm
Booker Backlash
Posted by: Keir Graff

After the prize…let there be backlash!

In the Guardian (“It’s time to ditch the prize guys“), Robert McCrum calls for reform:

For radical reform, the prize, the sponsorship, and probably the administration of the prize, should be transferred to an organisation that understands the subtle and complex opportunities of arts promotion. It’s high time to say thank you and good night to the Man Group and to Booker’s ancien regime.

He makes reference to “Robert Harris’s magnificent assault on its ‘evils’ in the Evening Standard”–the original text of which I can’t find on the site of the Standard (probably one of those “information wants to be cuddled” organizations), but which I can find, strangely enough, on the Gulf Times (“The Booker Prize is evil, says bestselling British author,” by Lucy Cavendish):

“The Booker casts a long shadow over literary life. It has swollen like a monstrous boil obscuring anything that was ever good about it. It encourages and fosters the difference between supposed ‘literary’ novels and other perfectly good books. It reveres a certain type of novel yet great writers of the world may never have featured in it and lots of books that are short-listed in it disappear without a trace.”


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