The OF Blog: With the usual blathering uproar about the Man Booker Prize about to occur...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

With the usual blathering uproar about the Man Booker Prize about to occur...

I thought I'd do something a bit different this year than just merely be bemused by the complaints from certain quarters (especially those in England) that complain about the longlist (then the shortlist and ultimately the winner) for the annual Man Booker Prize.  Sure, I could write a long bit on how there's some intriguing fictions on there that utilize certain genre (in this case, ranging from SF to fantasy to crime to romance to almost all points in-between) tropes in crafting stories that presumably are among the best written in a particular year by a Commonwealth, Irish, or Zimbabwean writer.  But no, I'm going to do something a bit different than that.

Whenever the Man Booker longlist is published, I will scan through it and buy some of the titles, no doubt, and perhaps review a few here.  But no, I'm going to do more than that.  I'm going to examine another, more international annual award (and one that pays double of what the Man Booker Prize does currently), the Premio Alfaguara.

This is my favorite literary award, not because it's in Spanish and I get a chance to read new fiction in my second language, but because the fictions have almost always been uniformly strong and without the usual artificial divisions that seem to occur in English fiction (particularly that of the UK variety).  So I think August will see me reading and reviewing the past winners since the award was revived in 1998, as well as some of the Man Booker longlist that should be released shortly.  Perhaps this will lead to some readers discovering new fictions that they might otherwise have missed (should note that some of the Premio Alfaguara books have been translated into various languages, even into English).


6 comments:

James said...

Interesting. Looking forward to it. I went looking for lists of previous years' lists (long or short), but was unable to turn up any. I did turn up a list of previous winners though, so I might check and see if any have been translated into English.

Larry said...

There's no shortlist, as the process is that authors submit under pseudonyms their manuscripts for consideration. Then a jury of five selects from 400-600 entrants the winner. It certainly eliminates the name recognition bias and to me seems to be one of the better approaches to choosing winners.

James said...

Yeah, I figured there was no shortlist. I agree with you that it seems a better process.

I imagine if the Hugos had such a process there would not be nears as many jokes about certain authors showing up on the ballot year after year no matter the quality of their books.

Larry said...

Or the Nebulas, since that is even more widely derided? :P

O Assistente said...

Will you be reading "El Viajero del Siglo" by Andrés Neuman? It won the Premio Alfaguara in 2009. It's a marvelous novel, I can't recommend it enough!

Larry said...

Yes. I enjoyed that one quite a bit when I read it two years ago.

 
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