Bookmarks: News and views from the book world

Written by admin on 05/07/2018 Categories: 南京夜网

Tom Keneally: Australia’s first winner of the Booker Prize, in 1982, for Schindler’s Ark.
Nanjing Night Net

Tom Keneally: Australia’s first winner of the Booker Prize, in 1982, for Schindler’s Ark.

Tom Keneally: Australia’s first winner of the Booker Prize, in 1982, for Schindler’s Ark.

Dyson for April4 BooksAndrew Dyson

Dyson for April4 BooksAndrew Dyson

Dyson for April4 BooksAndrew Dyson

The Booker boss

Martyn “Mr Booker” Goff, who died late last week, was a crucial figure in many aspects of the literary world, but his biggest impact was as administrator for 36 years of the Booker Prize. When he took over, the prize was not the guaranteed front-page story it is now. The Booker loves a bit of controversy and while he was its most ardent champion, he was not averse to judicious leaks to ensure controversy. Novelist Philip Hensher said he was “the world’s most delightfully indiscreet man”. So when Malcolm Muggeridge took umbrage at the books he faced reading as chair of the  judges in 1971, Goff reportedly leaked the reason to various papers that elicted headlines such as “Muggeridge Quits in ‘Porn’ row”. Goff may have been the administrator, but by choosing the judges and ensuring rules were adhered to he played a significant role. When Tom Keneally became Australia’s first winner of the prize in 1982, the judges were split between his Schindler’s Ark, and William Boyd’s An Ice-Cream War. John Carey was chair of the judges and, according to a history of the prize said to Goff, “Well, of course the Keneally isn’t really a novel”. His response proved decisive. “I cited the fact that the novel was a novel because by shortlisting it they had made a decision, and the publisher was publishing it as fiction. I told them, ‘You can’t change your mind; it is fiction’.”

The life and times of Martyn G

Goff, who also wrote several novels himself, recently republished by Valancourt in the US, also had some input when J.M. Coetzee won his first Booker for Life & Times of Michael K. Judges were split evenly between Coetzee and Salman Rushdie, for Shame. The chair, Fay Weldon, was dithering over her casting vote at 6pm on the evening of the announcement. Said Goff: “Fay, we must have a decision.” Said Weldon: “But Martyn, you don’t seem to understand that at home I never make decisions; my husband makes them.” So Goff told her she wasn’t at home now. Weldon plumped for Rushdie, but as Goff went to the phone to call the PR people, she cried out that she had changed her mind. It was Coetzee. Goff headed back to the phone. “I did even hear a new ‘Hold it a minute,’ but ignored it.”

Sweet win for oddest title

Talking of prizes, the Diagram for the oddest title has gone this year Strangers have the Best Candy, a self-published travelogue, that pipped other weird publications such as Divorcing a Real Witch: For Pagans and the People who Used to Love Them and Nature’s Nether Regions.

New York stories with Simon Clews

Former Melbourne Writers Festival director and director of Melbourne University’s Writing Centre for Scholars and Researchers, Simon Clews, is running a trip in October to New York in conjunction with the New York Writers Workshop when participants will learn how to pitch their book ideas in a commercial setting and get the opportunity to pitch to some NY publishers. Details: simonclews南京夜网

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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