Man Booker Prize

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?

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Till Undeath nominated for Best Book

The seven rowers who’ve abandoned their duvets for eight o’clock in December, half-mummified in college-branded tracksuits against the freezing fog, mill around King’s Front Court stamping and blowing under the sombre, ghostly gaze of Henry VI
“The seven rowers who’ve abandoned their duvets for eight o’clock in December, half-mummified in college-branded tracksuits against the freezing fog, mill around King’s Front Court stamping and blowing under the sombre, ghostly gaze of Henry VI.”

I took the above photo yesterday as Cambridge was enveloped in freezing fog almost as I’d imagined it in an early scene in Till Undeath Do Us Part. Add a few rowers, a marginally denser fog and the weak early morning light, and it would be a perfect fit.

Today I’ve discovered that Till Undeath has been nominated for Best Book at the 2012 So So Gay Awards. This is gobsmackingly exciting and entirely unexpected. Voting is open to the public, with the results announced on Friday 28th December.

Here’s the bit where you imagine me on my knees in front of you, hands as in prayer, puppy dog eyes pleading with you to vote for me. Thanks in advance…