Last night the Booker Prize was awarded to Julian Barnes for Sense of an Ending and although I didn’t enjoy it I was pleased because I thought it was the most deserving book on the shortlist.
In the run up to the prize announcement I normally do a prediction post, but as you’ve probably seen there has been a lot of debate about the Booker judges this year and with their comments about wanting a readable book that would “zip-along” I honestly had no idea which book they’d pick. It was good to see that they chose the most literary book on the short list and I hope next year’s prize courts less controversy.
Independent Alliance Man Booker Prize Party
Last night I was lucky enough to attend a Booker Prize party organised by four of the publishers on the short list (Atlantic, Canongate, Serpent’s Tail and Granta). It was quite a daunting experience as I knew no-one there. The situation was made harder by the fact that everyone else seemed to know each other, but after nearly bolting for the door I summoned up the courage to speak to people and had a fantastic evening.
I spoke to the editor of Half Blood Blues, several publishers and I had a very interesting conversation with someone from a marketing agency about blogs, social media and viral marketing. As the prize announcement drew nearer I spoke to Carol Birch’s son and was surprised to discover that short listed authors only get to take one guest along with them to the official prize giving ceremony.
Live Booker coverage was broadcast to the party on a big screen and everyone watched nervously. A few people booed Stella Rimington’s speech and there was quite a bit of heckling – everyone was far better behaved at the real Booker announcement! When Julian Barnes was declared the winner the entire room seemed to sigh in unison. There was no booing (or clapping) just a weird feeling of sadness from everyone in the room. After the news had sunk in we got back to drinking and talking. It was a bit strange to have a party without the authors we were celebrating, but everyone had a fantastic time.
I look forward to seeing which books are selected for the Booker next year and will be enjoying a bit more random reading over the next few months.