ManBooker and/or Not the Booker

Posted 30 Jul 2015 by Jane Mathieson in Competitions & Prizes

The longlist for the most talked about literary prize in the UK has been announced and can be seen here

There are 13 titles on the Man Booker long list: I can report that I have read 2, heard 1 on Book at Bedtime (! Does that count as reading?) and on a first trawl there are another 2 that I’d really like to read and will reserve now. That leaves 8 which I remain to be enthused about.Drawing of US wooden house on fire

I’m particularly pleased to note that one of the titles- Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg was one that I picked out to support from a batch of reading I had to do for potential nominees for the Radio 2 Bookclub. I’m not able to say whether or not it got through for Simon Mayo to read and discuss, but I am pleased that my personal critical faculties seem to remain alert to some good writing when I see it.

Alongside the official Man Booker prize process, the Guardian also runs a search for a Not the Booker Prize title. Details of this can be seen here

The prize is a Guardian Mug, so its hardly invested with the razzamatazz of the official prize, but it is a much more inclusive process for readers, which I urge you all to take part in.

Currently 70 titles are listed from a wide range of publishers including many independents ( NB I note at least a couple of the official Booker longlist appear so I guess they are now ineligible here).

If you want to become part of this process, all you have to do is vote for two books from the longlist, from two different publishers, and accompany those votes with a review of at least one of your chosen books . Get voting. The deadline is 23:39 BST on 2 August so it’s a tight process.

Its only realistic to write a review of one you have read, but your 2nd vote could go to Blue cover. Impression of underwater in swimming poolan author (or publisher) you respect. Bluemoose managed to win this once - was it 2013? And I note they have 2 books on the list, this time round, including Colette Snowden’s  title The Secret to Not Drowning which is on my “to read” pile. Last year’s winner was Cumbria-based Simon Sylvester who also appears on our website, so this “prize” has done a great deal for “northern” writing and publishing to date.

Later in the process a shortlist is produced which readers also get a chance to vote on. It’s a bit of fun and an honourable adjunct to the “official” prize, bringing a whole raft of excellent books to our attention.

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