Yesterday I found a livestream of BBC World so I could watch the announcement of the winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize. I also had Twitter open. There was a strange sense of community pumping out of my laptop and then Eleanor Catton went and knocked the bastard off!
One of the most impressive things has been her poise over the weeks since being short-listed and that was on display again yesterday and today. What a smart, sensible soul.
(I know some noses are out of joint about her biting back at some of the bad reviews from NZ males over the age of 45... One is normally better served holding one's tongue [eg "what review in The Press?"] but YOU JUST WON THE BOOKER, ELLIE. SAY WHATEVER THE FUNK YOU WANT.)
Anyway, last night we had our weekly salon here in the hotel (Anglophone Indian Poetry and What Literary Fiction can Learn from Commercial Fiction) and I brought along a bottle of NZ wine to toast Ellie's success. Tis a long time between drinks for NZ writers re: Booker success. Though maybe Ellie can go all Mantel/Carey and double down in quick succession.
|Whiti Hereaka and me (and a bunch of non-NZers out of frame) |
toasting Eleanor Catton's Booker triumph
From the Potato Barn.com
Re: my ever-so-helpful suggestions for the Iowa City Book Festival earlier in the week, you can find my panel paper on Kurt Vonnegut, and a bunch of other IWP smartness, online here.
The judges for the 2014 NZ Post Book Awards were announced today.
It's a very distinguished and savvy panel, only fitting to judge what many (including me, but I'm biased) reckon is a bumper year for Kiwi Books.
Of course, a certain Booker winner is eligible in the Fiction Category, and it'll be a major upset if it doesn't win that and the overall award. Stranger things have happened. But it seems like it'll be a scrap between the Adamses, Wilkinses, Nixons, Kidmans, Kennedys et al for the remaining spots on the short-list.
We shall see.