Wednesday 17 October 2012

(Wo)Man Booker 2012

I was delighted to wake up this morning to the news that Hilary Mantel was the winner of the 2012 Man Booker Prize for Bring Up the Bodies.

There has been a lot of media speculation over the past week or so with most commentors agreeing that they (the Man Booker Prize people) rarely give out a second Booker and certainly not one for a second book in a series.

I struggled with these observations.

Surely if the book is good enough then it shouldn't matter if it was a second win or a series. Surely the Man Booker Prize is awarded to the best book of the year!

Thanks to Bring Up the Bodies this was never going to be like this years Pulitzer nominations where they couldn't pick a clear cut winner.

I haven't read any of the short-list this year - the Classics challenge has diverted my reading attentions elsewhere! So I cannot tell you how the other five books compared to Bring Up the Bodies.

All I can relate is how much I enjoyed both Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.

Mantel not only writes absorbing, engaging, intellectual stories, but she is also popular across a wide range of readers.

So bravo! Man Booker for picking the popular favourite.
Bravo! for picking someone who has already won a Booker.
Bravo! for selecting the first female two times Booker winner.
Bravo! for selecting the second book in a series.

My faith in the whole award malarcky has been restored...for now!


  1. I heartily agree! A book should be honored for its merit regardless of the author's previous works.

  2. I usually follow the Booker antics, indeed at one stage I set myself the challenge of reading all Booker finalists- I'm a bit stalled on that one just at the moment. I haven't read Wolf Hall, but do have an actual physical copy sitting in the house. I bagged a copy for 5 bucks a year or two ago, and think perhaps it's the best price ever per word. Still I am a bit conflicted by this win. I know they're separate books, but it is the continuation of the story as I understand it, so I'm not sure that it should be worth two Bookers for consecutive books. I do agree with your point that it should be the best book of the year, but still, this does make me a bit uneasy. Clearly she's hit her stride with these books. I just have to find the time to read them. I'm not very good at reading door stop books though.

    1. Although the 2 books follow each other, they're actually quite different.
      Wolf Hall is a sprawling childhood/rise to power story.
      Bring Up the Bodies is far more concentrated - focusing on the few years of Anne Boleyn's marriage to Henry.

  3. I'm very excited as BBC has already picked up the screen rights for Bringing Up the Bodies, and Wolf Hall is already in the works in terms of screen adaptations. I haven't read either yet but will. And then there's number three - The Mirror and the Light ... perhaps Ms. Mantel will have a three-peat.
    I was watching this too!


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