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Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Footnotes: Julian Barnes Wins 2011 Man Booker Prize

So while the Nobel Prize committee gave this year’s prize to a Swede that no one has heard of, the Man Booker Prize judging panel led by former Director-General of MI5 Dame Stella Rimington, gave their prize to punter favourite Julian Barnes.

Barnes, who has been nominated three times before, won the UK’s most prestigious award for his novel The Sense of Ending, beating a controversial shortlist that saw the panel accused of pandering to popular taste ahead of literary merit (a charge made by commentators against everyone on the shortlist except Barnes). His first novel in six years, The Sense of an Ending went straight to the top of bestseller lists in the UK when it was published earlier this year.

Rimington described the book as having “all the markings of a classic of English literature. It is exquisitely written, subtly plotted and reveals new depths with each reading”. High praise and £50000 for Barnes, who once notoriously described the prize as “posh bingo”.

Barnes’s 11th novel is an exploration of the murkiness and subjectivity of memory and the ways in which people alter the past to suit themselves. Told through the eyes of the seemingly dull arts administrator Tony Webster, who looks back on his seemingly insignificant life – the book reveals Webster’s complicity in the tragic life of an old school friend.

In his acceptance speech Barnes said: “Those of you who have seen my book, whatever you think of its contents, will probably agree it is a beautiful object. And if the physical book, as we’ve come to call it, is to resist the challenge of the e-book, it has to look like something worth buying, worth keeping.”

He also still believes that it’s “posh bingo”, but admitted he didn’t want to die and get a “Beryl”, in reference to Beryl Bainbridge who was nominated five times, never won and received a posthumous Best of Beryl Booker Prize.


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And the Nobel Prize goes to…

It’s that time of year again when the literary world starts buzzing about who the good people at the Swedish Academy are going to select as the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. As usual due to the fact that shortlists are kept under lock and key for fifty years the bookmakers’ odds are used as an indication of what the selection committee headed might be thinking. (more…)


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The Man Booker Prize Shortlist – Julian Barnes vs Some Other People


Following the announcement of the longlist a few weeks ago the shortlist for this year’s Man Booker Prize has now been released, prompting the usual debates about who was left off, why whoever is on it is there and who should win based on merit and the odds offered by the bookies. (more…)


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