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Thursday, Feb. 29
The Indiana Daily Student


Booker prize to exclude Americans

LONDON -- American writers won't be given a chance to win Britain's most prestigious literary award, organizers of the Booker Prize said Monday. \nThe organizers rejected a proposal to expand eligibility for the annual prize beyond writers from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth of former British colonies. \nThe suggestion that they welcome any author writing in English first surfaced last spring, prompting furious chatter among literati about whether British or American fiction writing would prove stronger. \n"We took the decision that the Man Booker Prize should remain as it is because its hallmark is that it honors Commonwealth writers,'' said Martyn Goff, administrator of the prize. "That is what the prize has built its reputation on over the last 35 years, and its integrity is valued worldwide.'' \nHe said prize organizers were considering setting up a separate lifetime achievement award, in addition to the annual Booker for best novel, and that would be open to writers of any nationality, as long as their work was published in English. \n"The proposal is at a very early stage and further details will be announced in due course,'' the prize organizers said in a statement. \nThe Booker Prize, backed by the Booker foods group, was established in 1969 to reward good writing, to raise the stature of the author in the eyes of the public, and to encourage an interest in contemporary quality fiction. \nFinancial services conglomerate Man Group PLC began sponsoring it in April, boosting the award from $33,000 to $79,000 and renaming it the Man Booker Prize. \nMany Britons were aghast at the idea of opening the prize to Americans. Lisa Jardine, chairwoman of this year's judging panel, said doing so would drown out the voices of non-American writers, noting that only American citizens could win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. \nThis year's Booker winner was Canadian Yann Martel, whose novel "Life of Pi'' tells the story of a boy who survives a ship sinking and ends up alone on a lifeboat with animals from a zoo.

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