Jonathan Taylor, Chair of the Booker Prize Foundation,
today that the Man Booker Prize will now be open to all writers who write in English, regardless of where they live. Previously, the award only considered British writers. The books must have been written originally in English and published in Great Britain, but it does not matter where the author lives. Taylor says that the prize will now
"recognise, celebrate and embrace authors writing in English, whether from Chicago, Sheffield or Shanghai."
The decision was not made lightly, according to Taylor. The Trustees took 18 months to investigate the issue with the help of outside consultants. They consulted the opinions of authors, booksellers, agents, publishers and readers. They originally were going to do a separate prize for non-British authors, but then decided that would dilute the prize's importance.
The prize recognizes the best in English literary fiction. The Trustees determined that the prize should include all novels that fit that description, regardless of where the author is from. Taylor explains, "We are embracing the freedom of English in its versatility, in its vigour, in its vitality and in its glory wherever it may be. We are abandoning the constraints of geography and national boundaries."
The novels must be published in Great Britain and the majority of the
other requirements will remain the same, although there will be some adjustments so that the judges are not overwhelmed with the number of books they must read.
This is certainly good news for American, Canadian and Australian novelists.