Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Paul Beatty Wins the 2016 Man Booker Prize

Paul Beatty's The Sellout have been announced as the winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize. This makes Paul the first American to have won the prize since the change in rules in 2015, allowing any book published in English in the UK eligible.

According to the Man Booker Prize "The Sellout is a searing satire on race relations in contemporary America", which was "described by The New York Times as a ‘metaphorical multicultural pot almost too hot to touch’, whilst the Wall Street Journal called it a ‘Swiftian satire of the highest order. Like someone shouting fire in a crowded theatre, Mr. Beatty has whispered “Racism” in a postracial world.’"

Though the prize has over the years been bogged with controversy - readers keening about its dumbing down (sacrificing literary merit on the altar of readability) and the bolder ones threatening to form another prize, The Man Booker Prize is still an authoritative source for good books, new novelists, and bold narratives (from small publishers) that do not pander to the whims of the pretentious masses whose purchase of books is either for decorative purposes or for the conferment of an elite status, mostly. 

Together with the Man Booker International Prize, which has also seen an intelligent transformation from being an award to a writer every second year for his or her oeuvre (though this was a good challenge to the comatose, the viciously political, and that misnomer, the Nobel Prize in Literature) to an annual award for best novel in translation, the Man Booker has become the ultimate writers' award. And this is because of the judges the prize draws upon every year - though this has also been its source of controversies; yet, it is far different from and better than those which employ hibernating septuagenarians, who in conclave in a catacomb, select an individual they have mostly not read with a citation that is vague, at best, and mostly meaningless - a sentence to be turned into curlicues on wall plaques.

Whilst the Nobel (in literature) has ceased to promote literature, just as its cousin ceased to promote peace, the Booker is transforming and learning and becoming more relevant.
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