American Writers to be Eligible for Man Booker Prize from 2014
16th September 2013
The literary world has reacted with shock to the news that American authors are to be eligible for the Man Booker Prize from next year.
Melvyn Bragg, Jim Crace, Susan Hill, Stuart Evers and David Lodge were among British authors who felt the prize risked losing its distinctiveness and focus and expressed concern that the judges would be simply overwhelmed by the increased burden. Previous winner Howard Jacobson said it was the 'wrong decision'.
The prize is currently open to any full-length novel written in English by an author from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth but it is thought that the organisers hope to increase its profile by including American authors. Two of America's major literary awards, the Pulitzer and the National Book Award, are not open to authors outside the United States.
Previous Booker winner Kazuo Ishiguro could see a rationale for the change, however: 'It's sad in a way because of the traditions of the Booker, and I can understand some people feeling a bit miffed, but the world has changed and it no longer makes sense to split up the writing world in this way.'