This evening, the winner for the 2011 Man Booker Prize was announced:

  • The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes

It has been a troubled year for the Man Booker Prize. When awarding the Man Booker International Prize to Philip Roth, judge Carmen Callil resigned. It seemed the only folks who showed up for the Best of Beryl Bainbridge Prize (the now annual off-shoot to the main award) were the crickets. Jonathan Talor, Chair of the Booker Foundation, claimed the Man Booker International Prize — which has had only four winners, all but one of whom writes in English — was now the world’s premier literary prize and superior to the Nobel Prize. Then the judges of the real Booker Prize got criticized to no end (I was not on their side) for choosing “readable” books that “zip along.” Well, the most “literary” (whatever that means) title won. I’m looking forward to reading The Sense of an Ending. Barnes has been shortlisted three times before, and his winning this year was far from a foregone conclusion though many thought it the best book on the shortlist. Will this put a stop to the criticism?


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