Showing all posts tagged: Booker Prize

Iris, the new name of the Booker Prize trophy

31 March 2023

After a public vote to select a name for the Booker Prize trophy, convenors of the British literary award have revealed Iris to be the winning choice. Interestingly though, the winner of the vote was actually the name Bernie, being a nod to Bernardine Evaristo, the first black woman to win the Booker, with her 2019 novel Girl, Woman, Other.

Evaristo however felt late Irish British novelist Iris Murdoch should instead be honoured. The name Iris came in at second place in the poll:

‘I’m surprised and flattered that the name Bernie was nominated by readers in the Booker Prizes’ trophy competition and that it received the most votes in the public poll,’ Evaristo said. ‘But as the only living author on the list, I feel it would be more fitting for the honour to go to a writer who is no longer with us,’ she added.


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2023 International Booker Prize longlist

15 March 2023

The 2023 International Booker Prize longlist was unveiled yesterday, and features eleven novels published internationally, which have been translated into English.

The 2023 judges are looking for the best work of international fiction translated into English, selected from entries published in the UK or Ireland between May 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023. The books, authors and translators the prize celebrates offer readers a window onto the world and the opportunity to experience the lives of people from different cultures.

French author Maryse Condé, at age 89, becomes the oldest person to be named on the Booker International longlist, with her novel The Gospel According to the New World.

Works by a film director, four poets, two former security guards, and a writer who had declared himself “dead” (curious), are also included. The shortlist will be announced on Tuesday 18 April 2023.


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The Booker Prize trophy name contest shortlist

14 February 2023

The Booker Prize has been on the lookout for a name for the statuette that is presented to winners of the British literary award. After combing through suggestions, a shortlist of six potential names has been published, and everyone is invited to vote for their favourite:

  • Beryl – after the late Beryl Bainbridge, a Booker Prize legend, who was shortlisted for the award five times, though never won
  • Iris – after 1978 Booker winner Iris Murdoch, who was nominated for the prize seven times. Iris was also the Greek messenger of the gods
  • Minerva – after the Roman goddess of poetry, wisdom and the arts
  • Calliope – after the Greek muse who presided over eloquence and poetry
  • Bernie – after Bernice Rubens, the first woman to win the Booker (1970) and Bernardine Evaristo, the first Black woman to win the prize (2019)
  • Janina – primarily a Polish name meaning ‘God is gracious’, and the female form of Jan, after Jan Pienkowski, the Polish-born designer of the trophy

I kind of like Minerva, but Calliope was the most popular as of the last time I looked at the trophy name post on the Booker Prize Instagram page.

Voting closes next Monday, 20 February, with the winner being named on Monday 27 February 2023.


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The Booker Prize is seeking a name for their award trophy

21 January 2023

Booker Prize organisers are looking for a name for the statuette they present to recipients of the annual literary award, which was originally designed by late Polish-born British author and artist Jan Pieńkowski. The statuette was presented to inaugural Booker Prize winner P.H. Newby in 1969, but by the mid-1970’s winners were receiving a leather bound copy of their book.

In more recent years, recipients have been presented a perplex trophy. Following Pieńkowski’s death in 2022, organisers resumed using the statuette he designed, when Shehan Karunatilaka was named 2022 winner. Entries for suggested names for the statuette close on Friday 27 January 2023.


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Seeing G, when John Berger donated half his Booker Prize money to the British Black Panthers

15 December 2022

Seeing G, a short documentary produced by the Booker Prize organisation, and British writer Jo Hamya, explores a fascinating chapter in literary award history. In 1972, British author and poet John Berger, was named the Booker winner for his novel G, also written in 1972.

During his acceptance speech though Berger caused — or is said to have caused — controversy, by pledging to give half of the £5,000 prize money to the London chapter of the British Black Panther Movement. But was the gesture truly controversial, or was that the way the media portrayed it?

‘I have to turn this prize against itself,’ he went on. ‘The half I give away, will change the half I keep.’ In a move made notorious by press, Berger donated half of his prize money to the London-based British Black Panther Movement. ‘I badly need more money for my project about the migrant workers of Europe,’ he explained, ‘[And] the Black Panther Movement badly needs more money for their newspaper and for their other activities… the sharing of the prize signifies that our aims are the same.’

Needless to say, there’s more to the story than meets the eye.


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The Booker Prize World Cup 2022

4 December 2022

If football/soccer isn’t your thing, but you love the thrill of elimination contests involving novels, you could always take a look at the Booker Prize World Cup:

We’ve selected, entirely arbitrarily, 16 winning books from the Booker Prize’s 53-year history, with each author representing a different footballing nation. In each case, the author is playing for their country of birth (which is more than you can say for the Qatar football team), and not necessarily the country with which they are best associated or where they live. We have drawn books against one another at random and in each ‘match’ — which will be posted on our Instagram and Twitter channels each day — we would like you to vote for the best book via a poll. The winning book will then progress to the next round. After the first round, there’ll be a quarter-final, semi-final and grand final.

The provision of each author playing for their country of birth is important, given South African born writer J.M. Coetzee, for example, has been an Australian citizen since 2006. Otherwise Peter Carey, with his 1988 novel Oscar and Lucinda, was Australia’s opening round representative.

While it could have been argued Australia was in with two chances, unfortunately as of the quarter final phase of the Booker Prize World Cup, both Carey and Coetzee had been eliminated. Such is life. Still, I’m waiting to see who wins. To take part, and support your favourite book, cast your vote via the Booker Prize Twitter or Instagram pages.


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Why aren’t Australian books being nominated for the Booker Prize?

19 October 2022

It’s been six years since the work of an Australian author was nominated for the Booker Prize. Tasmanian writer Richard Flanagan was the last recipient in 2014, with his book The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

Since then only South African born Australian author J.M. Coetzee has made the cut, being named on the longlist for the 2016 Prize with The Schooldays of Jesus.

But 2014 was also the year changes were made to the Prize’s eligibility requirements, allowing any English language title to be nominated, essentially opening up the award to American writers. Since then it seems Australian books have struggled to gain traction.

The Booker was once confined to authors from the Commonwealth, Ireland and Zimbabwe — an empire rule that looked increasingly silly, leading to a change in 2014 to allow all novels written in English, so long as they were published by UK and Irish publishing houses. Much fuss was made about the decision to let Americans in (including by Carey), but it is undeniable that since then, they have made up roughly a quarter of every longlist and won three times; at this year’s prize, which was won by Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka on Monday, six of the 13 nominees were American. These authors are most often living, working and published in the US — seemingly an easier path into the UK than the long road from Australia.


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Shehan Karunatilaka wins 2022 Booker Prize with The Seven Moons of Maali Almeid

18 October 2022

After much speculation as who would win the 2022 Booker Prize, and whether there was even any point in speculating in the first place, Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka has been named winner of the 2022 Booker Prize, for The Seven Moons of Maali Almeid.

Of the winning title, the Booker judges said:

Any one of the six shortlisted books would have been a worthy winner. What the judges particularly admired and enjoyed in The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida was the ambition of its scope, and the hilarious audacity of its narrative techniques. This is a metaphysical thriller, an afterlife noir that dissolves the boundaries not just of different genres, but of life and death, body and spirit, east and west. It is an entirely serious philosophical romp that takes the reader to ‘the world’s dark heart’ — the murderous horrors of civil war Sri Lanka. And once there, the reader also discovers the tenderness and beauty, the love and loyalty, and the pursuit of an ideal that justify every human life.


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The Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

7 September 2022

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeid by Shehan Karunatilaka book cover

The Booker Prize 2022 shortlist has been unveiled:

Featured above is the cover of Shehan Karunatilaka’s shortlisted title The Seven Moons of Maali Almeid. It would win the disassociated prize for best book cover on the Booker Prize shortlist, if there were such a thing.

The winner will be announced on Monday 17 October 2022.


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The 2022 Booker Prize longlist

27 July 2022

The 2022 Booker Prize longlist was announced overnight, Australian time. Thirteen authors including Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet, and Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout, are among those included.

It includes the youngest and oldest authors ever to be nominated, as well as the shortest book, three debuts and two new publishers receiving their first ever nominations. Chair of the judges Neil MacGregor said ‘The list offers story, fable and parable, fantasy, mystery, meditation and thriller’.

The shortlist for the Booker Prize, which celebrates English language novels published in Ireland and the UK each year, will be unveiled on Tuesday 6 September 2022.


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