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Archive for February 2010

The Booker Prize remembers the 70s

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The Booker Prize remembers some great novels 40 years on

The world famous Man Booker Prize is delving back 30 years to create the long list for what has been dubbed as The Lost Man Booker Prize. The reason for a wealth of literary gems missing out the chance to win one of the literary world’s most respected prizes has been put down to the fact that in 1971 just two years after it began The Booker stopped being awarded retrospectively and became as it is now the best novel in the year of publication. At the same time the date of the award being given was moved from April to November, this now means that one year’s worth of publications published in 1970 missed out on the chance to be nominated for the Booker prize.

Now forty years on a panel of judges whom all of them where born in or around 1970 has been selected to judge to create the shortlist of six novels that the Booker prize nearly forgot. The long list was made up of books that would have been available for selection in 1970 as well as still being in print and easily available. The panel of judges is made up of journalist and critic, Rachel Cooke, ITN newsreader, Katie Derham and poet and novelist, Tobias Hill.

The long list which was announced on the 1 February is

Brian Aldiss, ‘The Hand Reared Boy’
H.E.Bates, ‘A Little Of What You Fancy?’
Nina Bawden, ‘The Birds On The Trees’
Melvyn Bragg, ‘A Place In England’
Christy Brown, ‘Down All The Days’
Len Deighton, ‘Bomber’
J.G.Farrell, ‘Troubles’
Elaine Feinstein, ‘The Circle’
Shirley Hazzard, ‘The Bay Of Noon’
Reginald Hill, ‘A Clubbable Woman’
Susan Hill, ‘I’m The King Of The Castle’
Francis King, ‘A Domestic Animal’
Margaret Laurence, ‘The Fire Dwellers’
David Lodge, ‘Out Of The Shelter’
Iris Murdoch, ‘A Fairly Honourable Defeat’
Shiva Naipaul, ‘Fireflies’
Patrick O’Brian, ‘Master and Commander’
Joe Orton, ‘Head To Toe’
Mary Renault, ‘Fire From Heaven’
Ruth Rendell, ‘A Guilty Thing Surprised’
Muriel Spark, ‘The Driver’s Seat’
Patrick White, ‘The Vivisector’

Some of the names featured in the long list have featured in later Booker prize nominations David Lodge, Muriel Spark, Nina Bawden and Susan Hill where all featured in later lists. Going one step further J.G. Farrell, novel The Siege of Krishnapur won the prize in 1973 whilst Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea won in 1978. Proving that the long list is not just made up of one hit wonders that should remain in the 70s, Ion Trewin, literary director of the Man Booker Prizes commented on the list saying “Our long list demonstrates that 1970 was a remarkable year for fiction written in English. Recognition for these novels and the eventual winner is long overdue”.

The shortlist will be announced in March but like previous Booker prizes the final six will be thrown to the reading public for voting, with the overall winner being announced in May.

Watch Hilary Mantel chat about winning The Man Booker Prize 2009 with her novel Wolf Hall belo:

Discussion:
So, do you think The Booker Prize guys have missed off any titles? What is your favourite book of the 70s and why? Maybe there’s another novel based in the 70s that deserves some credit too?

Words: Seamus Swords

Final Fantasy II
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