You are here

The continued success of Man Booker Alumni

The continued success of Man Booker Alumni

New Zealand is about to celebrate a first. It has had two Man Booker winners, Eleanor Catton for The Luminaries and, back in 1985, Keri Hulme with The Bone People. Both will be featuring at the same event. Hulme very rarely makes public appearances so this Man Booker pow-wow is unlikely to be repeated in the near future. The only drawback is that the Kiwi pair will be showing up at the Auckland Writers' Festival, from 14th to 18th May. A little inconvenient for many readers it is true. Catton meanwhile, when asked recently how her life had changed on winning the Man Booker, commented “I'm still in the same flat that I've been living in in Auckland. My cats don't care about the Booker Prize, except for something to knock over.”

Natalie Haynes, one of the Man Booker judges who awarded Catton the prize has been recalling the whole experience: “Fifty books in the first 100 days, then 100 books in the second 100 days. It was brutal. I know it's not like going down a mine, I really do, but I never left the house for six months, I had constant mouth ulcers from drinking so much caffeine. The soft tissue of my body was screaming, 'Go outside. Stop reading.' So many words!” Nevertheless, it wasn't gruesome enough to put off from writing her own debut novel, The Amber Fury, which has just been published.

Congratulations to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Man Booker longlisted in 2004 with Purple Hibiscus. She has just won the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) fiction award for her novel Americanah – beating Donna Tartt in the process as well as one of last year's Man Booker shortlistees, Ruth Ozeki (A Tale for the Time Being).

Congratulations too to NoViolet Bulawayo, Man Booker shortlisted last year with We Need New Names. She is the winner of the 2014 PEN Hemingway Award given for first novels. The Prize, worth $10,000, was established by Hemingway's wife Mary. By coincidence, a former recipient was Bulawayo's fellow Man Booker 2013 nominess Jhumpa Lahiri.

Deborah Rogers, CEO of the literary agents Rogers, Coleridge & White, will be honoured at April's London Book Fair with its Lifetime Achievement Award in International Publishing. Among the authors she has represented are an impressive number of Man Booker winners – Peter Carey, A.S. Byatt, J.G.Farrell, Kazuo Ishiguro, Thomas Keneally and Ian McEwan. More importantly she has served on the advisory committee of the Booker Prize Foundation so she thoroughly deserves her gong.