Just as it wouldn’t be summer without the photos in my local newspaper about giant marrows, it wouldn’t be Man Booker prize winning season without someone taking a jibe at the prize.
The latest author to give vent to their opinions of what’s wrong with the award, is Irvine Welsh. According to him the Man Booker prize is arrogant, intellectually enfeebling and “highly imperialist-orientated.” Welsh told an audience at the Edinburgh international writers conference that the organiser’s claim to be anti discriminatory is a myth.
His evidence? Well it seems rather slim. He points to the fact that the majority of prize winners have been English writers who he believes hail from the middle-upper class. Giving it to people like Aravind Adiga (2009 winner), Kiran Desai (2006) or J M Coetzee (1999) was merely a sop to people from former colonies he claims.
His solution would be for an author of Scottish origin to win this honour. What a surprise that an author of Scottish origin, speaking on stage in the capital city of Scotland, would argue that the Booker prize is anti Scottish. Pandering to the audience maybe Mr Welsh?? Or merely a case of sour grapes?
The Guardian’s report of the event is here