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Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Missing the list

By now, every literary blog in the English-speaking world has probably linked to the 2007 Man Booker Prize longlist. What's the buzz? There's only one really big-name writer on the list (Ian McEwan), and for a Booker longlist it's actually rather short: just thirteen books. But what stood out for me--as for others in this part of the world, no doubt--is that there are no Caribbean writers longlisted. Actually, there were none last year, nor the year before--Caryl Phillips (2003, A Distant Shore) was the last Caribbean or Caribbean-ish writer to catch the attention of the Booker judges (and the only one to ever actually win a Booker Prize was V.S. Naipaul back in 1971--but, shh, don't let him hear you call him "Caribbean"). I hope that says more about the Booker judges, and about literary prizes in general, than about the quality of fiction written by Anglophone Caribbean writers. But tell me, dear readers, which Caribbean novels of the last three or four years do you think could or should have made it to the Booker's final judging table? What have those judges up in London been overlooking?