LitFest Review (& news) - Epilogue: Marlborough's favourite winning Booker novel - and LitFest's new chair

Written by Tony Millett on .

The Booker of Bookers:  Hugo Tilney (L) & Philip Cayford QC (Photo © Ben Phillips)The Booker of Bookers: Hugo Tilney (L) & Philip Cayford QC (Photo © Ben Phillips)The final event of the 2018 Marlborough LitFest was a fun 'parlour game' to find the favourite Booker Prize winner - marking the prize's fiftieth birthday.


Five winning novels were championed with presentations by an invited panel.  Then in 'Strictly Come Booker' style, the three with the lowest number of votes left the platform - and the last two slugged it out reading extracts from their chosen books.

'Master of ceremonies' for this literary jousting event was LitFest chair Jan Williamson. She has now stood down from the committee and is succeeded as chair by Genevieve Clarke - see below.
MC Jan Williamson at the Booker Prize event (Photo © Ben Phillips) MC Jan Williamson at the Booker Prize event (Photo © Ben Phillips)


The five books put to the vote were: 
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively (1987) - Debby Guest of The White Horse Bookshop.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2002) - Philip Cayford QC - a local LitFest supporter. 

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (2009) - David Roth-Ey - Editor at Fourth Estate and Ms Mantel's publisher. 

Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989) - Hugo Tilney of the College English department.

The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell  (1973) - author & historian Katie Hickman.

After very entertaining speeches supporting their choices and the first round of voting, the two finalists left on stage were the champions for the Kazuo Ishiguro and Yann Martel novels.

Remains of the Day won the final vote by a pretty wide margin - 38 votes to 24. 

A good and very bookish end to the ninth Marlborough LitFest.  The winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize will be announced on Tuesday, 16 Otober. 

From the size of the audiences, the reported quality of the events and the reactions on social media, Jan Williamson is certainly retiring on a high note - after nine years on the committee and six years as chair:  “I feel very lucky to have been involved with LitFest right from the start."

"It’s been a great adventure and truly thrilling to see it grow from small beginnings into the size and depth of this year’s festival. LitFest now feels well-established in Marlborough, and we’ve been lucky to have such loyal support from many people in the town and beyond."

"It’s fantastic news that Genevieve Clarke has agreed to take over chairing Litfest. She has all the right experience and skill and I know she’ll do a brilliant job - and she has a great team to back her.”

Genevieve Clarke has been involved with LitFest for the past few years: "We owe a huge debt of thanks to Jan who has given so much time to LitFest from the very start and has inspired so many people to get involved. She's a very hard act to follow I can tell you. But we've got a fabulous committee - all very experienced and enthusiastic and we've already started thinking about the next - our tenth!"

Genevieve Clarke is programme manager for The Reading Agency, which works to engage less confident readers in reading for pleasure.

Dates for your diaries:  Marlborough LitFest will return for its tenth year from 26-29 September 2019.  And marlborough.news has one more Reviews Chapter still to come.


Genevieve Clarke (L) and Jan Williamson (Photo © Ben Phillips - & marlborough.news' thanks to Ben for his great photos)Genevieve Clarke (L) and Jan Williamson (Photo © Ben Phillips - & marlborough.news' thanks to Ben for his great photos)

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