Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Winners and finalists

Last week, Hilary Mantel won the Man Booker Prize for her novel "Wolf Hall". The surprise came in that Mantel was the expected win. Bookies and fans claimed her to be the favorite and indeed she won.

That Thursday, Herta Müller won the Nobel Prize in Literature. This Romanian-born German writer was received with a lot of criticism in the U.S. immediately, as many began to cry foul, claiming that the Nobels were far too Europe-centric. Müller, virtually unknown in the U.S. until her ascension as Nobel laureate, was seen as an obscure, bad pick by many, while others insisted that the problem was with the U.S. for not recognizing one of Germany's top authors, especially one who has been translated into English (nice list here). It's an interesting debate but is fairly pointless. Instead, let's congratulate Müller on her win and get reading her works.

Meanwhile, on U.S. soil, the National Book Award Finalists have been revealed. The picks emerge from over a thousand possibilities and will probably pinpoint a truly good book (going based on previous years' winners). Here is a prize with little controversy: there's not much in the finalist lists to complain about. In addition to the finalists, Gore Vidal and Dave Eggers received the awards for
Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and The Literarian Award, respectively.


  1. Interesting to know if America has a literary prize that is international in any way? France has lots of international literary prizes, and the Booker includes Australian and Canadian authors (and other English-speaking countries, too? Not sure). I'm all for countries embracing global literature - all part of that mind-broadening that books do so very well.

  2. I agree. I don't see what all the fuss is about. She obviously wrote an amazing work - we should congratulate her and applaud her efforts.

  3. I'll have to update my lists! Thanks for the reminder.

  4. I don't think America has an international literary prize; the Man Booker includes Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth nations; all Booker books have to have been written in English. Just because someone is unknown in the U.S. should hardly disqualify them for a global award!


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