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Rediff.com  » Getahead » Golden Man Booker Prize: Naipaul, Rushdie, Arundhati Roy in the race

Golden Man Booker Prize: Naipaul, Rushdie, Arundhati Roy in the race

February 19, 2018 08:20 IST

A special honor will mark the revered literary award's 50th anniversary this year.

Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy won a Booker Prize for her novel The God of Small Things in 1997.
Photograph: @ekaco/Instagram.

 

Leading Indian-origin authors like V S Naipaul and Salman Rushdie are in the race for a one-off special Golden Man Booker Prize to mark the literary award's 50th anniversary this year.

The new award will involve five judges -- each assigned to one decade -- selecting one former Booker Prize-winning author to create a 'Golden Five' shortlist, to be unveiled at Hay Literary Festival in May.

The five books will then be put to a month-long public vote from May 26 to June 25 on the Man Booker Prize website to decide the overall winner, which will be announced at the Man Booker 50 Festival on July 8.

The Golden Man Booker has 51 past winners in contention, including literary heavy-weights like Iris Murdoch, Nadine Gordimer, J M Coetzee and Margaret Atwood, who are all still in print.

They will be back under the spotlight, to discover which of them has stood the test of time, remaining relevant to readers today, Man Booker said in a statement.

The Indian-origin authors in the running include past Booker Prize winners Naipaul for In a Free State (1971), Rushdie for Midnight's Children (1981); Arundhati Roy for The God of Small Things (1997); Kiran Desai for The Inheritance of Loss (2006); and Aravind Adiga for The White Tiger (2008).

 

Among the authors Nobel Laureate Naipaul is in competition with in his decade are two authors with Indian connections.

J G Farrell had won the Booker Prize in 1973 for The Siege of Krishnapur, a novel set in a fictitious town but inspired by the real events in Kanpur and Lucknow during the revolt of 1857.

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala won the Booker Prize in 1975 for Heat and Dust, which was set in India and adapted into a film starring Shashi Kapoor by Ismail Merchant and James Ivory. Jhabvala, who was married to an Indian and lived in India for more than two decades, wrote several books set in the country and collaborated with Merchant-Ivory on screenplays of their most famous films.

Roy will find herself competing against Coetzee, one of the few authors with two Booker Prize wins.

Desai and Adiga will be in competition with each other and the likes of Margaret Atwood (The Blind Assassin), Yann Martel (Life of Pi) and Hillary Mantel (Fourth Estate) -- all who have captured public imagination in recent years.

While Martel's book was adapted into a film by Ang Lee, Mantel is the only woman to have won two Booker Prizes and the TV adaptation of Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale has been sweeping up every major award.

Rushdie is considered a frontrunner after he won a similar public vote for the Best of Booker Award in 2008 to mark the literary award's 40th anniversary. Interestingly, he is up against Kazuo Ishiguro, who had won the Booker Prize in 1989 for Remains of the Day, and went onto win the Nobel Prize.

'The very best fiction endures and resonates with readers long after it is written. I'm fascinated to see what our panel of excellent judges, including writers and poets, broadcasters and editors and the readers of today make of the winners of the past, as they revisit the rich Man Booker library,' said Baroness Helena Kennedy, chair, Booker Prize Foundation.

The judges for the Golden Booker Prize include writer and editor Robert McCrum (1970s); poet Lemn Sissay (1980s); novelist Kamila Shamsie (1990s); broadcaster and novelist Simon Mayo (2000s); and poet Hollie McNish (2010s).

The Man Booker 50 Festival will run from July 6 to 8 in London.

Events will range from interviews and conversations between Man Booker winning and shortlisted authors, to debates and masterclasses.

The 50th anniversary will also be amplified globally with Man Booker author events at international literary festivals across the world throughout the year.

Rediff Get Ahead Bureau