Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Prize Change?

I'm a bit behind with this, but I'd like to note here the interesting list of finalists for the International Man Booker, and the official statement which is a declaration of fulfilled intention to reverse a tradition:
The previous incarnations of the prize have included a large cluster of well-known and indeed expected names, from Doris Lessing and Milan Kundera to Amos Oz and Joyce Carol Oates. There is, however, nothing familiar or expected about the list unveiled today.
The statement points out that the list (below) includes only two well-known names and quotes the prize administrator as saying that the judges were chosen, and a larger number appointed than previously, in order to allow the panel "to read in far greater depth than ever before.”
This is presented as such an innovation that it's wearying confirmation that our prize culture relies too heavily on the known and approved (and so, probably, previously hyped). It would be nice to think, though, that this development - along with the great surprise finds of this year's Booker shortlist - are signs of permanent change.

Here's the list:
U R Ananthamurthy (India), Aharon Appelfeld (Israel), Lydia Davis (USA), Intizar Husain (Pakistan), Yan Lianke (China), Marie NDiaye (France), Josip Novakovich (Canada), Marilynne Robinson (USA), Vladimir Sorokin (Russia) and Peter Stamm (Switzerland).

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