“Too many debuts/Americans/same names … ” Every year, without fail, the Booker prize shortlist ruffles feathers. Well, not just the shortlist, as we saw from last year’s joint winners. This year’s “drama” surrounds the double Booker winner Hilary Mantel being absent from the shortlist. To those questioning the omission of The Mirror & the Light, Lee Child, one of the judges, said: “As good as it was, there were six that were better.” And in his subjective opinion, yes, that is true.
The thing I enjoy, and in equal measures find ridiculous, about the publishing industry is that so much of it is based on pure emotion. An editor reads a book, and they go on to acquire and publish it because they love it. As writers we love what we do, and readers are so invested in books because of how they make you feel. And we back what we love, obviously. It’s worth remembering that your feelings about a novel don’t have to change just because a set of people think it is not deserving of an accolade. We love books because they pull us in, they teach us something, they open our eyes and sometimes our hearts – whether or not the author takes a trophy home.