I have seen all over news and social media this week the controversy surrounding the inclusion of American authors in the Man Booker Prize, probably the most well known literary award. The argument comes from publishers who are concerned that the winning of American authors has detrimental impact on US sales for English nominees. The debate seems to be split 50/50, some people believing the award should exclude Americans due to the impact that the domination of American culture has on the success of our literature, whilst others feel that the award should be global due to it being old fashioned to split the world in such a way.
I thought I would express my opinion on this debate, I don’t quite fit into the one side or the other aspect, I’m not even sure if I completely agree or disagree. On the one hand, I do feel like as an English award it should perhaps be exclusive to England and the countries of the commonwealth, as it used to be, as the priority of such an award should be to celebrate and encourage the success of our own writers. From the commercial aspect of the publishing industry, I can definitely see why the inclusion of American authors is problematic, but then the question arises about what the prize is actually all about, in my opinion it should celebrate writing rather than as a means to increase the status and benefits for publishers. From my own perspective, there are so many books written by American authors that are absolutely amazing and deserve to be acknowledged so why shouldn’t they be able to win one of the most prestigious literary awards. I definitely agree with Kazuo Ishiguro that the world should not be split in the way it previously was with the prize, as people enjoy literature from all different countries, American writers contribute largely to the literature we read so it makes sense that the prize should reflect this.
Since changing the rule in 2014, the prize has definitely had diversity issues when the intention of the rule change was to increase the diversity of the nominations. In this sense, I do believe that there is an evident issue but it should be down to the judges to ensure that the nominations and the winners are fair and inclusive for all rather than completely excluding America from the nominations.
Like I said, I’m not entirely sure on my standpoint of the matter, but let me know what your opinion is below, I’d love to know!