Fiction at its finest

Weekly Roundup: Hilary Mantel on the Costa Novel Award shortlist

23 November 2012

This year's Man Booker Prize winning book Bring Up the Bodies has just been shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award. No Man Booker Prize winner has ever won the Costa too (perhaps its judges subliminally feel one win is enough) so Hilary Mantel has her work cut out. The next date to watch out for is 2 January 2013 when the five category winners are announced (novel, first novel, biography, poetry and children’s book) and then on 29 January 2013 the Costa Book of the Year, and pocketer of £30,000, is named. Mantel's competition is Stephen May's Life! Death! Prizes!, James Meek's The Heart Broke In and Joff Winterhart's Days of the Bagnold Summer so voodoo dolls at the ready.

Two novelists with Man Booker connections have made it on to the shortlist of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature which was announced this week. Amitav Ghosh – shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008 with Sea of Poppies – was included for River of Smoke and Jeet Thayil, one of the class of 2012, for Narcopolis. The winner will be announced in January at the Jaipur Literary Festival where, coincidentally, the Man Booker International Prize will reveal its list of contenders. The Jaipur megaphone is going to be in demand.

Some jaw-dropping numbers are being bandied about regarding the forthcoming film of  Yann Martel's 2002 Man Booker-winning Life of Pi. Chief among them is that the film cost $120 million – not bad for something even its director, Ang Lee, calls “a specialised movie”. If it proves too specialised Lee, who won the 2006 Best Director Oscar for another literary adaptation, Brokeback Mountain, can console himself with a restorative swim in the 1.7 million gallon pool (yes, you did read that correctly) built in Taiwan to recreate the book's sea setting.

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