Tomorrow evening sees one of the most eagerly awaited evenings in the book world’s calendar: the announcement of the Man Booker Prize. Ireland has traditionally done very well at the ceremony, with Anne Enright, John Banville and Roddy Doyle all picking up the big prize in recent years. This year, sadly, no local authors have been shortlisted, but the announcement will be no less intriguing for that.
Veteran novelist and journalist Will Self and former winner Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall, 2009) are both on the final list, along with the Malaysian author Tang Twan Eng, South African-born Deborah Levy, and début novelists Jeet Thayil and Alison Moore.
If Mantel were to win, she would become only the third writer in the Prize’s history to have won the award twice, following J.M. Coetzee’s wins in 1983 and 1999 and Peter Carey’s wins in 1988 and 2001. (John Berger was awarded the retrospective ‘Lost Booker’ in 2010 for his 1970 book, Trouble, to add to his 1973 win for The Siege of Krishnapur.) Mantel would be the first author to win with a sequel of any kind, never mind a sequel to a former winner itself!
Some other authors, however, haven’t been quite so lucky. Beryl Bainbridge was nominated five times, but was pipped to the post on each occasion, whereas Julian Barnes was a Booker bridesmaid three times before he picked up last year’s prize for his brilliant novel, The Sense of an Ending.
Winning novels have gone on to become modern classics and their authors household names, and many, such as The Remains of the Day, Schindler’s List, and The English Patient, have also been adapted into memorable award-winning films. Two more big-screen adaptations of former winners, Life of Pi and Midnight’s Children, are scheduled to be released this December.
The winner of the Prize is not finally chosen until the day of the announcement itself and, as such, the announcement remains a great and unpredictable occasion, with the judges always prepared to spring a surprise. Whoever carries off the prize this year is certain to become essential reading this Christmas and you will, of course, be able to pick up the winner and all the shortlisted novels in-store and online.
We’re pretty excited about the upcoming movie adaptation of Yann Martel’s 2002 Booker Prize-winning Life of Pi. Judging by this trailer, director Ang Lee has done a great job of bringing the story to the big screen.
If you haven’t already read the incredible tale of Pi Patel’s 227 days in a lifeboat – with a hyena, a zebra and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker – we recommend you do so before the movie is released on December 21st this year. Click here to find out more about the book.