2018 is going to be an exciting year for the Man Booker as the prize celebrates it’s fiftieth year with a raft of celebrations and awards. And for Irish publishers, it’ll be an extra special year as for the first time author’s from the country will be able to submit books for consideration.
The move is likely to curb a lot of frustration felt by Irish publishers about the situation, especially as there’s never been any good reason for the exclusion. The entire situation is caused by an anomaly, simply because Irish books aren’t published in the UK, but that has now been rectified.
Until now the award was available to anyone writing in English and publishing in the UK, but this excluded Irish authors such as Mike McCormack, whose Solar Bones was originally published in Dublin. After positive reviews across the world, Scottish publisher Canongate republished the novel, making it eligible to be longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker prize. Solar Bones while used as an example, isn’t a standalone case, hundreds of respected literary works come out of Ireland every year, each one knowing they cannot be a Man Booker winner… Until now.
Both the UK and Ireland are part of the British Isles and as such the publishing industries are deeply intertwined, something that was making this anomaly even more frustrating. It also meant that smaller Irish publishing houses had little chance of keeping authors once they had become successful, stifling the Irish literary industry.
From 2018, Irish publishers will be free to enter applicants for the award as the Man Booker marks its fiftieth year. American author George Sanders won the Man Booker for 2017, but we could see an Irish author this year. We’ll know that towards the end of the year, but the longlist will be available from July.
The Science Fiction Poetry Association’s award was started in 1978 in recognition of achievements in the field of speculative poetry. The award was named after the blind singer and storyteller “Noisy” Rhysling, the protagonist of Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Green Hills of Earth“.
Neil Gaiman’s poem The Mushroom Hunters beat a whole array of other-worldly poems to gain the prestigious first prize for a long poem. The poem has been heralded as the “first feminist poem about the dawn of science“.
Watch the reading, or read it yourself below.
The 2018 Orwell Prize for political literature goes to Scottish rapper Darren McGarvey who performs under the name Loki, who has won the prize for Poverty Safari, a searing examination of the British underclass.
The hall of fame for sci-fi and fantasy has been going since 1996 and Lee will be the first comic book writer to be included. Both he and Rowling have made a significant impact on the world of pop culture this past decade, with a stream of books and movies and an ever-expanding universe for both Marvel and the Potter fandom.
The scandal continued with many members resigning in protest, leaving the Academy in crisis due to its own rules. It looked as though the entire Nobel Prize Academy might have been disbanded forever but it was ultimately saved, although 2018 will be the first year in 69 years that the awards have not been given.
Tim Waterstone, founder of the eponymous book shop chain has been recognised with a knighthood for services to bookselling and charity. Author Kazuo Ishiguro has also received a knighthood for services to literature.