Following criticism that the Man Booker Prize, the prestigious British literary award that goes each year to a writer from the Commonwealth or Ireland, no longer deserves its reputation as a badge of literary achievement, a new literary prize for the U.K. has been announced that purports to “establish a clear and uncompromising standard of excellence.”
According to a report from The Bookseller about the new prize, the board of the new award thinks that the Man Booker “now priorities a notion of ‘readability’ over artistic achievement.” In contrast, the new prize, which at the moment is just called The Literature Prize, “will offer readers a selection of novels that, in the view of these expert judges, are unsurpassed in their quality and ambition.”
Negotiations about funding are ongoing and the organizers hope the first prize will be awarded 2012. The announcement comes just a few days after Stella Rimington, the chair of the judging panel for the Man Booker, told the Guardian that “t’s pathetic that so-called literary critics are abusing my judges and me. They live in such an insular world they can’t stand their domain being intruded upon.”
Unlike the Man Booker, writers of any nationality whose books are published in Britain will be eligible for the award.