In the latest news from England, Hilary Mantel, author of the historical novel Wolf Hall won the 41st annual Man Booker Prize on Tuesday. The novel is supposedly an engaging read (according to The Times and all other general reviews), despite taking place in the 17th century, focusing on Henry VIII’s court and the king’s adviser, Thomas Cromwell.
The book beat out some heavy competition–both J.M. Coetzee and A.S. Byatt were poised to make history if they took the prize (Coetzee for winning his third Booker, Byatt for being the first woman to win two)–but the competition was met with surprisingly little controversy. It seems London’s literary types were satisfied enough with the impressive shortlist, and didn’t find much to fuss over when Mantel took the prize.
As for myself, I don’t have much to say on Booker prizes. I don’t make a point to read Bookers, although it’s a worthy goal. However, I think it’s enough to focus on the Pulitzers and National Book Award winners (since I’m shamefully behind in the latter).