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Weekly Roundup: The novelist’s predicament, Vernon God Little for the big screen and women-only fiction prizes.

Weekly Roundup: The novelist’s predicament, Vernon God Little for the big screen and women-only fiction prizes.

In an interview in the Independent Ali Smith (twice Man Booker shortlisted) gave a nicely no-nonsense summing up of the true novelist's predicament: “I have been blessed. They [publishers] have always let me have enough rope. If they didn’t, I would write the books I write anyway, but they would never be published.”

Meanwhile, in his new collection of essays Through the Window, Julian Barnes (Man Booker winner in 2011) gives a glimpse of the novelist, as reported by Penelope Fitzgerald (winner 1979), that gives the lie to the idea that writing is in any way glamorous: “I have been mending my sandals with plastic wood (unfortunately Woolie's only had 'antique walnut').”

More big-screen Man Booker. According to Variety, the German director Werner Herzog is working on a film adaptation of the 2003 prize winner, D.B.C. Pierre's Vernon God Little. One of Herzog's previous films was about Texas's death row so Pierre's tale of a teenager and a Texas high-school murder is familiar territory. There is another Man Booker link: the script is being written by Andrew Birkin who directed The Cement Garden by the the 1998 prize winner Ian McEwan.

A coda to the UK's former Orange Prize for women's fiction, now seeking a new sponsor: both Australia and Canada are setting up new women-only fiction prizes – the Stella and the Rosalind. An interesting sense of timing given that in Britain the need for a gender prize has never seemed less urgent following Hilary Mantel's second Man Booker success.