I’m going to take advantage of the excitement surrounding the Man Booker Prize shortlist, announced earlier today (see here) to announce the next edition of Mookse Madness.

In March 2019, which is only six months away, I will be hosting the third Mookse Madness on the Mookse and Gripes Goodreads group. In Mookse Madness 2017, the first year, we threw 64 novels, from various parts of the world and from various times in history, in a series of death matches. Only prevailed: Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. In Mookse Madness 2018 we did the same thing, but with short stories. The winner that year: William Trevor’s “The Piano Tuner’s Wives.”

For 2019, I’m trying something a bit different. This is the year of Booker Prize Darlings. I have gone through the history of the Man Booker Prize and picked out the sixteen authors (eight men, eight women) who have been most favored by the prize, getting at least three of their books on the shortlists. Each of these special authors will have four books in Mookse Madness. Their books will fight it out against each other first, and the winner will move on in the Sweet Sixteen to compete with another author’s “best” book.

The books chosen for each author’s entry will not necessarily be the ones that were shortlisted for the Booker Prize, though some certainly will be. In fact, I’d love your insights. Which books should represent each author?

Here are the authors who will have books in contention (the number in parentheses is the number of times he or she had a book on the shortlist):

  • Iris Murdoch (6)
  • Beryl Bainbridge (5)
  • Margaret Atwood (5)
  • Penelope Fitzgerald (4)
  • Ali Smith (4)
  • Muriel Spark (3)
  • Penelope Lively (3)
  • Doris Lessing (3)
  • Anita Desai (3)
  • Ian McEwan (5)
  • William Trevor (4)
  • Salman Rushdie (4)
  • Kazuo Ishiguro (4)
  • Peter Carey (4)
  • Thomas Keneally (4)
  • Julian Barnes (4)
  • Brian Moore (3)
  • J.M. Coetzee (3)

There are other male and female authors who have been on the shortlist three times, but they didn’t make my arbitrary cut (I wanted Sarah Waters on the list, for example, but when I rolled the dice she didn’t make it).

To follow the preliminary thread and make suggestions, please go here! When the representative books are selected, I will announce the list with plenty of time to read at least a few before the party begins.

Enjoy Booker season 2018 and I hope some of you will join us for Mookse Madness 2019!

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