The longlist for the 2013 Man Booker Prize was announced today. It contains no self-published books.
Why not? Because they are, by design, ineligible for the prize. The organisers have gone to some lengths to make sure no self-published books slip through the net. Here’s the rule:
3 d) Self published books are not eligible where the author is the publisher or where a company has been specifically set up to publish that book.
In other words: the Man Booker Prize is not an award for best book, it’s an award for best book published by the members of a private club.
Barring self-published books from a book award makes as much sense today as barring books with blue covers would. It’s as if, a century ago, a prize for best vehicle could only be awarded to a horse-drawn carriage.
I’m under no illusions: I know my books wouldn’t be in with a chance, even if they were eligible. But it’s tremendously short-sighted to baldly assert there are no self-published books worthy of this award.
What do you think? And how many years do you think will it be before this rule is scribbled out while nobody’s watching, and the Man Booker Prize finally embraces the automobile?