Friday, 21 October 2011

Emma Donoghue | The Sealed Letter | A Booker bonus

I've just been speaking to the Irish author Emma Donoghue about her novel The Sealed Letter. It has just been published in the UK as a follow up to her big selling, well reviewed, much nominated Room, which came out last year.

Room made the Booker shortlist. I asked her what she thought of the Booker controversy this year and her answer was I think quite sensible.

"There is no God of the Booker," she pointed out. "You can't predict what the judges will like. there's no guarantee an academic judge will love only academic novels or that a TV personality will only like light reads."

Donoghue points out that she has been on a number of judging panels herself and that she has always been amazed by the range of opinion a single novel will inspire. So really, it isn't any surprise that in any one year a thoughtful book by Alan Hollinghurst might be overlooked in favour of something else by a writer neither Hollinghurst or his agent had at that point never heard of. She suggests judging the award over a period of a decade, not any one year, and points out that the last ten winners are an intriguing mix of the extremely literary and the extremely readable, often in the same volume.

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