I Hate the Booker Prize

And with good reason. Just take a look at the judges. These people look like the judging committee of a village fete. Can anybody say ‘White upper middle class conspiracy theory’.

The rumour is that the Booker Prize rewards the best literary fiction. What utter arse. If it did I would still loathe it, but my hatred would be irrational. The Booker is a clarion call of cultural elitism and I do not exaggerate when I say I would be happy to see all involved horrificaly mutilated and left for dead. (OK, I exagerate. But only slightly).

The Guardianista’s are speculating who will make the longlist. I’m going to join them by specualting about who defintely won’t be on the longlist…

M John Harrison, Iain Banks, John Courtenay Grimwood, China Mievile, Ian McDonald, Charles Stross, Alan Moore, oh soddit this could be a really, really long list…

…lets just say whatever wins it will almost certainly represent the antithesis of everything I find wonderful in the written word.

Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

12 thoughts on “I Hate the Booker Prize

  1. I hate the Booker too…for raising expectations…recently read past winners Amsterdam and The Sea…pleasant enough…but wildly overrated…not sure about ‘a class’ thing…you British are so hung up on class…more like a personality thing…certainly not a quality thing…


  2. Most often these days the criticism I read of the Booker Prize is that it’s too populist and not highbrow (or ‘elitist’) enough, so it’s interesting to read an opposing view.

    I don’t carry a particular torch for the prize, though I do quite like the whole horse-race aspect of it. I’ve disliked or been unable to finish several winners. Having said that there are some absolutely terrific books which have been given a dose of publicity by the prize, either from winning or being shortlisted, many of which I may not have read otherwise – like The Remains of the Day, Disgrace, The Master, I’ll Go to Bed at Noon and many others.


  3. i completely agree. i dont think its just the judges (but definately is part of the reason) i think its the way the booker seems so limited in what it sees as ‘literary’ fiction, it pisses me off how so many areas of fiction and writers they just do not considered ‘literature, and clearly see them as beneath their consideration and god help you if you write within a genre.

    im an english postgrad and if i could only look at ‘literary’ fiction in the booker model i’d have packed it in a long time ago. as it is my dissertation is on the british comic writers grant morrison, alan moore and warren ellis. each one of those is more entertaining, more creative, more ‘literary’, fantastic writers and their best works are better than pretty much any booker prize winning book (although people should get over thinking watchmen is moore’s best work he has done easily better stuff since that)

    Alan Moore is currently writing a novel, something he claims will be his ulysses, whats the betting however fantastic it is (and i expect it will be) it will be ignored. from what i have heard aobut it the novel wont confiorm to their ideas of literary fiction and even more so they’ll look down at him as a comic book writer not an author. bastards


  4. Thanks for your comment Greg. I tend top agree. I think a new novel from Alan Moore might attract some attention. Of all the writers outside the literary mainstream, he’s the most likely to gain that kind of recognition. I would challenge anyone to read From Hell and not be staggered both by his story and Eddie Campbell’s art. Thanks again.


  5. Pingback: An unequal contest


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s