Friday, July 31, 2015

Why our Man Booker longlist spans the globe

From Marilynne Robinson’s Lila to Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen, and from Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life to Tom McCarthy’s Satin Island, the chair of the Booker judges, Michael Wood, explains how focusing on quality brought diversity to the longlist

Global quality. Photograph: Image Source/Rex
Been staying at home too much lately? Reading some of the novels on the Man Booker prize longlist will change that. Do you want to retrace the Spanish conquest of the Americas? Travel to a dystopian England where music has largely replaced language? Get close to assassination and murder in Jamaica and Nigeria? Visit the Burren Way Green Road in the west of Ireland? Come back from Afghanistan to spend time with your grandmother?

These stories are so different from each other, but they are linked by their amazing formal precision and the high quality of their writing. The judges are very happy with the diversity of the material – and of the places of origin, ages and experiences of the writers – but we were not looking to commend diversity. We were looking for the best books.

No comments: