This year I have, for the second year running, been invited to join the panel at the YCAA annual Booker debate.
It’s an interesting shortlist this year with small publishers Salt and Myrmidon making the cut. It’s always good to see this sort of recognition for the smaller presses.
It’s also interesting reading the comments in the media. I have to admit I’m a bit concerned by remarks along the lines of ‘The judges have turned their backs on readability’ opting instead for ‘the shock of language’ and books that are ‘Conceptually challenging’.
Last year I was allocated ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes, which went on to win. Yes, it was readable, beautifully written and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So why is readability such a dirty word? A book can be literary AND readable!
So now I’m wondering what I’m going to be allocated to read this year.
Here’s the shortlist – just in case you haven’t seen it:
The Garden of Evening Mists – Tan Twan Eng (Myrmidon Books)
Bringing Up The Bodies – Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate)
The Lighthouse – Alison Moore (Salt)
Umbrella – Will Self (Bloomsbury)
Narcopolis – Jeet Thayil (Faber)
Swimming Home – Dehorah Levy (Faber)