Readersforum's Blog

October 20, 2012

Booker Prize 2012: Amanda Foreman: We were choosing the best novel of the year

Man Booker judge Amanda Foreman explains that until the very last day, it was too close to call who had won this year’s prize, which went to Hilary Mantel for Bring Up The Bodies.

 

By Amanda Foreman

Back in December, at the first meeting of the judges for the 2012 Man Booker Prize, the chair Sir Peter Stothard led the discussion on our criteria for the next 10 months of deliberation. This is how the process for literary prizes normally works; when it fails to happen, the judging process can quickly descend into every man (or woman) for himself. The disagreements become personal, resentments build, and suddenly it’s no longer about books but about egos.

One of the annual media rituals of the Man Booker Prize is the dredging up of rows from previous years. There is certainly no shortage of them, from the judges who have walked out in protest: Malcolm Muggeridge in 1971, Nicholas Mosley in 1991; or who denounced the winner: Julia Neuberger in 1994, or a fellow judge: Joanna Lumley in 1985; or who spoke for laughs and caused huge offence, David Baddiel in 2002; and so on.

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