By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
‘No Better Forum’
Tuesday’s (September 13) upcoming announcement of the UK’s Man Booker Prize shortlist is preceded today by the news that the award program is to be spotlighted three times on October 19 at Frankfurt Book Fair.
The year’s Man Booker winner is to be announced on the Tuesday following Buchmesse, October 25.
And on the 19th, the Fair’s opening day, the coveted literary award will be featured in three events, as follows:
- 11 to 11:45 a.m.: Booker Prize Foundation Literary Director Gaby Wood has a live conversation with one of the shortlisted authors in the Reading Tent on Buchmesse’s Agora.
- 12 to 12:45 p.m.: Wood joins a panel of specialists in a discussion, “The Winner Takes It All: How Literature Prizes Influence the Book Market” in the Business Club, Hall 4.0.
- 2:30 to 3 p.m.: Frankfurt Book Fair Director Juergen Boos and Wood talk about the history of the prize and its importance in international literary life on the Publishing Perspectives Stage, Hall 6.0.
In a prepared statement on the Frankfurt events, Wood—who succeeded the late Ion Trewin in the foundaiton’s directorial role last year—is quoted, saying, “We’re delighted to be celebrating the authors shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize at Frankfurt Book Fair.
“The Prize is open to all novelists writing in English; as such, it is a truly global award, and there is no better forum for the international exchange of literary ideas than Frankfurt.”
And for the Fair, Boos is quoted, “The industry buzz around who will be the winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize will be reaching its peak during Frankfurt week, and so the timing of these events couldn’t be better.
“There is no doubt that the Man Booker is very special award, recognized globally as one of the most-coveted. Winning it can lead to a huge uptake in book sales, not to mention the potential for overseas rights deals, and the TV and film opportunities.
“Where better place for publishing professionals to start these business conversations than at the Frankfurt Book Fair.”
Throughout the Fair, the UK’s Publishers Association stand will have copies of the shortlisted novelists’ books on display (Hall 6.0).
The Man Booker and Its Reach
The winner of the Man Booker Prize receives £50,000 (US$66,600) and, like all the shortlisted authors, a check for £2,500 (US$3,330) and a designer bound copy of their book.
Fulfilling one of the objectives of the prize–to encourage the widest possible readership for the best in literary fiction–the winner and the shortlisted authors normally can expect to enjoy a dramatic increase in book sales in many parts of the world.
As is alluded to in Wood’s statement, the international profile of the Man Booker was expanded sharply in its scope and scale in 2013. Prior to that—since its inception in 1968—the prize was given only to works written by citizens of the Commonwealth, Ireland or Zimbabwe.
Three years ago, however, and not without controversy, the rules were adjusted so that the prize “awards any novel originally written in English and published in the UK in the year of the prize, regardless of the nationality of their author,” according to the site’s guidelines. “The novel must be an original work in English (not a translation) and published by a registered UK imprint; self-published novels are not eligible.”
A separate prize, the Man Booker International Prize, carrying an equivalent winner’s purse to the main Man Booker, is given to a work of translation and the money, in that case, is divided between author and translator.