Hmmm. This is strange.
In 1974, two books — Stanley Middleton’s Holiday and Nadine Gordimer’s The Conservationist — won the Booker Prize. This happened again in 1992, when both Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient and Barry Unsworth’s Sacred Hunger won. After that, the prize put in the rule that there could be only one winner. That rule has never been revoked. That rule meant nothing this year!
Put 2019 as the third year when the judges of The Booker Prize couldn’t come together and name one deserving winner but instead split the prize. The two winners?
-Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments
-Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other
I’m not sure how I will feel over time, but I’m against this on principle, and I’m not sure how it happens in actuality, there being five judges. There is a narrative going around that the judges just loved both of them so much they couldn’t choose, despite getting pushed back by the prize directors. I am skeptical. Maybe some day we’ll get to hear more of what went on behind closed doors.
I’m judging without much to stand on, though, as I have not read either book. Folks over in the Goodreads room have, though, and it’s been a fun conversation to follow.