Right on the eve of the announcement of this year’s long list, the Man Booker prize website has undergone a makeover. It does seem to be a substantial improvement on the older version.
Some of the content has been retained but the new site includes a wider variety of material including video interviews with writers, podcasts from the prize season, and interviews with shortlisted authors. One of the current features is an video interview with Howard Jacobson in which he talks candidly about the ‘immeasurable impact’ of winning the prize in 2010 for his novel The Finkler Question. Aside from the material benefit from the boost to sales, winning something like the Booker has a strong psychological impact. It helps, says Finkler, to still the little voice that “lives inside every author – the voice that says “what if this book isn’t a great book?” I’ve not yet read The Finkler Question but I warmed to Jacobson through this interview.
There’s also an interview with Ian Trewin, literary director for the Man Booker prize in which he talks about this year’s award (though is very careful not to drop any hints about the forthcoming announcement). They had 147 novels entered this year – I calculate it would take me more than 2 years to read my way through that lot so the judges must be made of finer material than I am.