I was lucky enough to attend this year’s Man Booker Shortlist readings the day before the winner was announced at the Southbank Centre in London.
I had read three out of the six shortlisted books at this point: All That Man Is, Hot Milk and His Bloody Project and I was looking forward to hearing from Thein (Do Not Say We Have Nothing) and Beatty (The Sellout).
First off, Sara Pascoe was hosting the evening which was a blooming fantastic idea. I had the pleasure of seeing her comedy routine this year and found her utterly hilarious in a charming and endearing sort of way. Pascoe released her debut novel, Animal, which I have been meaning to read for some time and she is also on the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017 panel – guaranteeing an excellent selection next year!
What I most enjoyed about the evening was seeing and hearing the author’s promote their novels that they had invested their time, money and pride in. It is often a symptom of the internet age that we Google to find out more about our most loved authors rather than going out and meeting them and discussing their books face to face. The latter is truly invalable. Hearing the author’s self promotion of their novels in such a setting is far more engaging then reading about it online (in my opinion). What was most intersting was that most of the audience (there was a mini hands in the air poll at the beginning) had not picked up one of the shortlisted novels and this was the author’s opportunity to wow those members of the audience into buying their novel. To do that in 3 minutes is one heck of a challenge!
For those who had read Hot Milk (Deborah Levy) Levy (quite rightly) refused to divulge the character who is following the protagonist Sofia. All we got was that “the clue is the olive trees“…does that mean anything to anyone? I think a re-read is on the cards!
This year I also followed the Man Booker Prize podcast which, again, allowed the reader a brilliant opportunity to hear directly from the authors. I was also introduced to The Bookshop Band through this medium which I urge you all to check out – they write songs inspired / based on books (my favourite is based on David Mitchell’s Bone Clocks: The Other Side).
I will update this blogpost once I have uploaded the reviews of the remaning books. In the meantime, thanks very much for taking the time to read this – I hope you enjoyed it and it encourages you to go to a book event near you. If anything, it is a brilliant way to get a personalised signing of your most loved book!
Thanks for reading – I hope you enjoyed it!