British PublishersUK publishers
By far the most prestigious literature award in Britain, the Man Booker Award has a dramatic impact on bookselling. We have already covered this in detail, up to and including the disputed 2014 amendment that entitles any authority of any citizenship who writes in English to profit. Until now, it was restricted to British, Irish or Commonwealth writers.
Twice since then, two US writers have won: Prior to this, Marlon James from Jamaica was awarded in 2015 and the winner in 2014 was the Aussie Richard Flanagan. One group of British writers, among them Julian Barnes and Susan Hill, have expressed their frustrations, and now a group of thirty British publishers are voting on the issue in the shape of a joint note to the award's organizers.
In fact, the amendment of the rules, which was probably intended to make the price more comprehensive, made it less strong by permitting the domination of Anglo-American authors at the cost of others; and risk transforming the price, which was once a bright trigger to make the world's English-speaking authors aware of the largest English-speaking country in the whole wide globe, into one that no longer serves the reader in that area.
He received an formal answer from the Booker Price Foundation - which also said it had seen a copy before the note was actually sent: It was not specifically designed to involve US authors. In contrast to the opinion of the writer of the cover note, the variety of the price has not been "significantly reduced" in the four years since the amendment of the rules.
In the 2014, 2015 and 2016 lists, all four (of six) non-US authors were shortlisted, and the 2014 and 2015 awards were won by an Aussie and Lamaican writer, respectively. It is the task of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction jury to find the best novel of the year in English.
The Americas has an English-speaking populace of around 300 million and is the dominant publisher in the world. No. The rules were not specifically designed to involve US authors, but it is naive to think that they cannot overtake the rival. Cain said Alastair Niven, a magistrate for the 2014 prize: That' s a good thought, but there are many good reason to resist the changes without accepting a'Britain First' mind.
As Anthony Cummins writes in the Telegraph in an eloquent way, the difference argues that one of the key points is missing: Publishers could have expressed their views on variety better if they had seen how quotas are now piled against them, without the money they can afford to pay for prestigious signatures. As a result of the amendment, half of the short-listed shares are from the Penguin Random House group.
Newcastle, Norfolk and High Wycombe's 2012 short list of books seems a long way off. There are so few bookstore chain stores in the UK and the considerable effect a price can have on the sale of books, the battle of small publishers and independent publishers to keep their heads above water is a reality. So why limit the potential for further by leaving advertising benefits to US writers?
Perhaps the reply is in a disillusioning account of the state of fictional literature by the Arts Council of England. In 2016, the 10,000th bestseller was postponed by 99 and earned 600; the 1,000th bestseller was selling between 3,000 and 4,000 and earned 15,000 pounds. The Man Booker lottery is crucial in this respect, not so much for its 50,000 pound award as for how a place on the long list can help raise a novelist into a sale that makes the distinction - albeit minutely - between continuing or giving up.
To have to face US authors who have already proven themselves on their home grass is of course increasing the difficulties for British authors. As the Booker's rules vary, the award is now the outstanding patron of an almost insignificant and unprofitable proselytic. This is the way to go if you want to promote the insolvency of smaller British printing machines.
Is the blame lies with US writers and publishers? There' re serious issues in what Cummins calls an "ecosystem. "But without tackling these issues, it seems unwise to allow a regulatory amendment that could have a negative effect on the UK publishers.