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Weekly Roundup: Literary prizes and zombie instalments

Weekly Roundup: Literary prizes and zombie instalments

Lovers of prizes can solace themselves that the expanse of time between Hilary Mantel's Man Booker win and the beginning of the award season 2013 is not a wasteland with tumbleweed blowing through it. On 12 November the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction announces who has won £20,000 and even more in kudos. Across the Channel meanwhile things are just getting started: November is the mois, it seems not just the headline act, the Prix Goncourt, but some less grand prix, including – among others – the Prix Décembre (for under-the-radar fiction), Femina (an all-female jury though contenders can be male), Flore (for young authors), Interallié (for novels written by journalists), and that quintessentially Gallic gong, the Médicis (for an author “whose fame does not yet match his talent”).


There are also three Man Booker novelists – Muriel Spark (three times shortlisted and an International Man Booker Prize shortlistee to boot), James Kelman (winner 1994) and Caryl Phillips (shortlisted 1993) – among the six authors nominated for the “Best of the Best of the James Tait Black Prize”. This special award celebrates 250 years of English literature at the University of Edinburgh and there is heavyweight competition in the shape of Angela Carter, Graham Greene and Cormac McCarthy. The winner will be announced in December.


An unusual change of genre for Margaret Atwood, who won the Man Booker in 2000 with The Blind Assassin. She has teamed up with Naomi Alderman to write a zombie novel in instalments. The first (body)parts of The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home can be found online at www.wattpad.com/happyzombie. Atwood likes zombies, she says, because: “They don’t prattle at the breakfast table when one is trying to read the paper.”