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The Man Booker Prize is 50 years old - you can help choose the best ever winner at Marlborough LitFest

For authors, publishers and readers alike, the Man Booker Prize is probably the most prestigious prize in English literature. This year it is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary - but which is the best of all the Booker winning titles?


Marlborough LitFest has decided to celebrate by holding a light hearted panel event at the end of this year’s festival to choose its own overall Booker winner: ‘The Marlborough Booker Prize’. 

Each of the five-strong panel of literature-loving locals and near locals has nominated their favourite Booker-winning novel from the past 50 years and will try to convince fellow panel members and the audience that theirs is the most-deserving as overall winner. 

This will be a literary discussion unlike any other as each panel member has ten minutes to define, debate and defend their choice before the audience votes on the ultimate winner of The Marlborough Booker. 

Jan Williamson, Chair of Marlborough LitFest, will marshal the event.  The panellists and their nominations are:

Debby Guest of The White Horse Bookshop - Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively (1987).

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

David Roth-Ey, Editor at Fourth Estate - Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (2009).

Hugo Tinley, English master at Marlborough College - Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989).

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

The Marlborough Booker event marks the finale of the 2018 - and the ninth - Marlborough LitFest. Whether you’ve read all or none of the five selected winners or not, you can join the debate in the Town Hall on Sunday, September 30 at 6.30pm - with the £10 ticket comes a free glass of wine and what is bound to be an entertaining debate.

Here's a quick catch-up on the four nominated books:

Moon Tiger - has been described as one of the best Booker winners ever - superficially a love story it is stylistically challenging, very inventive, and superbly emotive. 

Life of Pi - A strange and wonderful story of a boy who has to make his way across the ocean in a small boat with a large tiger after being shipwrecked. A novel full of mysticism and spirituality. 

Wolf Hall - This is a beautifully evocative and poetic book, underpinned by a huge amount of scholarly research, about the rise of Thomas Cromwell at the court of Henry VIII.

Remains of the Day - Another evocative and delicate story told from the point of view of Stephens, an aging butler with thwarted ambitions of love.  Loss, memory, class and self-deception are all at the centre of the story. 

The Siege of Krishnapur - based on the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Farrell shows the absurdity of the Raj's class system in a (fictitious) town no one leave.  There is comedy overlaid with a deeply serious and critical intent. 

The 2018 Man Booker Prize shortlist has been announced (September 20) - with British debut novelist Daisy Johnson (aged 27) becoming the youngest writer ever to be on a Man Booker shortlist.  The other five are Richard Powers, Rachel Kushner, poet Robin Robertson, Anna Burns & Esi Edugyan.   The winner will be announced on Tuesday, 16 October.

 

 

Marlborough LitFest tickets are available:  in person at The White Horse Bookshop, Marlborough High Street (cash or cheque only - from 9am).  By phone to Pound Arts - 01249 701628 or 01249 712618 (from 10am).  And online at Pound Arts 


 

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