The Award

Writers Fest

 

What is in an award, more precisely the Man Booker Prize, one of the world’s richest literary prizes?  According to my CBC News source this prize comes with $83,000 CAD and significant international exposure.    Just being on the short list is considered an honour.  But to be the chosen one – ah, success and renown awaits the winner.

And this year, the winner was Canadian born, New Zealand author, Eleanor Catton, for her 832 page book, “The Luminaries.”  Raised in Christchurch, New Zealand, she uses the 1860’s New Zealand gold rush as the backdrop for her dramatic narrative.  It looks like a page-turner.

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is awarded each year for the best original full-length novel written in the English Language. The writer must be a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Republic of Ireland, or Zimbabwe.  But that will change in 2014, when authors from around the globe will be considered as long as their book is in English and published in the UK.  I understand there were murmurings in the elite literary circles, but controversy adds spice to the discussion.  And there have been quite a few interesting moments over the years since its origin in 1968 as the Booker-McConnell Prize, which was simplified to “the Booker.” In 2002, the name changed to Man Booker when the investment company, Man Group became the title sponsor.

The list of Man Booker recipients includes Yann Martel, Life of Pi, Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending, Iris Murdock, The Sea, the Sea, and Salmon Rushdie, Midnight’s Children.  Eleanor Catton joins an illustrious group of writers. The Man Booker Prize Archive 2013

What I appreciate most about literary awards is that it pays tribute to all those who write.  Books are the way in which we celebrate our humanity and test our tenacity to pursue creative endeavours.

“Let others pride themselves about how many pages they have written; I’d rather boast about the ones I’ve read.” 
Jorge Luis Borges, Writer, Poet, Critic, Librarian

20 thoughts on “The Award

  1. Thanks so much for your informative post. Of the books that you cited, I have read the sea, the sea and the life of pi only. Will keep an eye on this newly awarded novel. Perhaps I will ask my friends to read it first!

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    • The first question that came to mind was: How many people will read the award-winners? So I did a bit of research, which I still haven’t completed, on the list of best-selling single-volume books. I was not surprised to find that Charles Dickens with A Tale of Two Cities has sold over 200 Million copies. My favourite author, J.R.R. Tolkien, with Lord of the Rings came in second at 150 Million copies, Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery at 140 Million. Cao Xueqin with Dream of the Red Chamber (紅樓夢/红楼梦) sold 100 Million.

      I was completely surprised that Agatha Christie was in the list for more than 100 million copies with And Then There Were None.

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      • I am embarrassed to say that i am not one of the readers of Dream of the Red Chamber (紅樓夢/红楼梦) which was sold 100 Million,

        For readers who are interested, here’s the information from wiki:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream_of_the_Red_Chamber

        “The novel is remarkable not only for its huge cast of characters and psychological scope, but also for its precise and detailed observation of the life and social structures typical of 18th-century Chinese aristocracy”. Now I am interested…perhaps I should try to read it.

        Thank you, Rebecca. Good research!

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      • Thank you, Denise, for the link. I found this link – would love to see this movie. I also found “Dream of the Red Chamber” translated into English at the local library!!🙂

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      • Indeed I found many movies on you-tube. I could not find the book in Chinese in kindle format. But I did find a website which posted the novel chapter by chapter in Chinese. There are many translated versions too. I am glad that you are interested. Watch the movie first and see if you like it.

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  2. a prize without money or hardware is just a chain letter. I once read that Hemingway would shoot for one exceptionally good page per day. Three cheers to all the nominees.

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  3. Isn’t it exciting? We are over the moon for Eleanor! I think she is the youngest recipient of the Prize. Apparently her acceptance speech was lovely but I have yet to hear it.

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