Monday, December 04, 2006

A.L. Kennedy's bad Booker beat

In 2001, novelist and sometime Booker prize judge A.L. Kennedy called the award "a pile of crooked nonsense."

And it was not only that year to which she pointed. Of her own experience as a judge in 1996: "I read the 300 novels and no other bastard [on the panel] did."

As you may have guessed, her fellow panelists were not exactly in accord with that statement. The Guardian reported:
Jonathan Coe was a fellow judge of Kennedy's in 1996 when Graham Swift's Last Orders won, and says he is surprised by [Kennedy's] bitterness. "It was certainly not corrupt that year. She was aggrieved because she didn't feel we had chosen the right book, but frustration is not corruption. She has exaggerated the number of books we had to read by a factor of three, and maybe you should scale her other comments back accordingly."
So which novel did she unsuccessfully champion? I'm not sure. Click here for the 1996 shortlist.

Previous "bad Booker beats":
John Sutherland's bad Booker beat
Erica Wagner's bad Booker beat
In praise of David Mitchell
Martyn Goff's bad Booker beat
The Booker Prize's "Henry Fonda" year
On the Booker and other literary prizes

--Marshal Zeringue