Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010: A Booker Odyssey

Yawn.

Something must have put me to sleep for several months, I wonder what it was? Anyway, as I look out on the snowy landscape outside, I think I should quickly get back to hibernation; but it is a new year, so before I do, let's have a stupidly early look at the early runners and riders for this year's prize.

As always there are a clutch of 'usual suspects', most notably the headline-grabbers Martin Amis (The Pregnant Widow) and Ian McEwan (Solar), and twice-winner Peter Carey (Parrot and Olivier in America).

David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet would also be vying for the top of my list of most eagerly awaited novels of 2010, along with Skippy Dies by Paul Murray, and Nicola Barker's Burley Cross Postbox Theft - her first novel since Darkmans, which should have won in 2007 (and I was delighted to see so many people agreeing about that during the Books of the Decade discussion on The Guardian's website).

I'm also going to be my usual biased self and tip Even the Dogs, by fellow Nottingham inhabitant Jon McGregor for this year's shortlist. I suspect his poetic style may well find favour with this year's judging panel, chaired as it is by Andrew Motion - the only man to survive being Poet Laureate.

His cohorts on the judging panel include three women: Rosie Blau (literary editor of the Financial Times); dancer, writer and broadcaster Deborah Bull (Creative Director of ROH2 at the Royal Opera House); and the biographer and critic Frances Wilson. They are joined by broadcaster Tom Sutcliffe (presenter of some excellent BBC Radio Four programmes including A Good Read and Round Britain Quiz). I imagine the five of them will soon be woken by the sound of books thudding onto their doormats.

It's back to sleep for me now though - unless, that is, publishers want to wake me with the thudding sound of review copies landing on my doormat as well. After all, there's always a first time, isn't there?
Although I may be using the word 'always' wrongly.

[Hits snooze button]

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