Man Booker Prize 2017 winner George Saunders is the second American author in a row to get the award. And, many believe his victory could indicate a trend that is dangerous for British literature.
George Saunders’ literary genius is undisputed. He is known for his extraordinary short stories, which always come with the dark satirical humor Saunders is often associated with. There is no doubt that he deserves to be the Man Booker Prize 2017 winner. The 58-year-old author got it for “Lincoln in the Bardo,” his first full-length novel.
The dispute is rather somewhere else. Man Booker Prize is a British award. And, it was restricted to only British authors for a long time. In 2014, the foundation declared it would consider all English books published in the UK. The foundation said the nationality of the author wouldn’t be a criterion for winning the award.
Not everyone was impressed with the decision. The core idea of the Man Booker Prize was to recognize and appreciate British talents. Now that the gate is wide open, British authors might find it difficult to get the recognition.
Past Man Booker Prize winners Julian Barnes and A.S. Byatt said that British and Commonwealth authors would be eclipsed by their U.S. counterparts because of this decision. Their warning was apparently legitimate, as this is the second time in a row that an American writer emerged as a Man Booker Prize winner. Last year, it was Paul Beatty.
Half of the top contenders for the Man Booker Prize 2017 are American citizens. In addition to Saunders, the other two are Emily Fridlund (History of Wolves) and Paul Auster (4321). Two are British, Ali Smith (Autumn) and Fiona Mozley (Elmet). Additionally, Mohsin Hamid (Exit West) has a British-Pakistani origin, The Guardian reported.
In the past, the Man Booker Prize has recognized talents outside the UK. Ben Okri (Nigeria), Keri Hulme (New Zealand) and Arundhati Roy (India) have earlier been honored by the foundation, ABC Online reported.
The American counterpart of the Man Booker Prize, the Pulitzer, is equally admired around the world. However, only American citizens are eligible for the award.
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