Man Booker Awards and the Importance of Modern Literature

by Bridget Richard

The Man Booker prize, established in 1969, is a literary award that is given to, “Any full-length novel written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland and published in the United Kingdom for the first time in the year of the prize. The novel must be an original work in English (not a translation) and must not be self-published.” (Man Booker website) This year’s top 6 nominees were selected on September 9, and fiction readers and writers alike are anticipating the announcement of the winner on October 14, 2014.

The books nominated cover a wide variety of backgrounds, from a man in a WWII POW camp in The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, to a New York dentist in To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris.

Howard Jacobson, author of this year’s nominated novel, J, won the Man Booker prize back in 2010 with The Finkler Question and is looking for a second win.  Neel Mukherjee, however, is receiving his first nomination with The Lives of Others.

The winner of the award will receive prestige in the writing community, along with an inevitable increase in sales.

 “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves” by Karen Joy Fowler is one of six books nominated for the Man Booker Prize.