Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Whitbread 2005

In The Guardian, John Ezard addresses the shortlist selections and, to some degree, the selection process of the Whitbread 2005 awards while noting the absences of Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith, Julian Barnes and John Banville.

Novel Award Shortlist

Nick Hornby Long Way Down (Viking)

"Four strangers at a low ebb meet in a tower block in Hornby's north London territory, nicknamed Toppers Towers for its suicides. One is a TV producer in disgrace for sleeping with a 15-year-old. Yet the book manages comic moments."

Salman Rushdie Shalimar the Clown (Jonathan Cape)

"The story of Max, the man who kills him, his daughter, and of a fourth character who links them. Has been called a magical-realist masterpiece."

Ali Smith The Accidental (Hamish Hamilton)

"A beguiling and seductive stranger called Amber has a car breakdown outside the Smart family's tatty Norfolk holiday home. The publishers say hopefully: 'This book will change you'. It certainly changes the Smart family."

Christopher Wilson The Ballad of Lee Cotton (Little, Brown)

"Lee, half Icelandic, is apart from other black kids in Mississippi. One review said it was 'destined for literary prizes'. The Guardian said: 'Lee Cotton is a literary Forrest Gump. The Everyman who wanders through decades of American identity politics. It is a sustained act of invention, but the novel runs against the limits of invention, too.'"

Here is the list of shortlists as published in Mr. Ezard's article:

First Novel Shortlist

Tash Aw The Harmony Silk Factory (Harper Perennial)

Diana Evans 26a (Chatto & Windus)

Peter Hobbs The Short Day Dying (Faber and Faber)

Rachel Zadok Gem Squash Tokoloshe (Pan Macmillan)

Biography Shortlist

Nigel Farndale Haw-Haw (Macmillan)

Richard Mabey Nature Cure (Chatto & Windus)

Alexander Masters Stuart: A Life Backwards (Fourth Estate)

Hilary Spurling Matisse the Master (Hamish Hamilton)

Poetry Shortlist

David Harsent Legion (Faber)

Christopher Logue Cold Calls (Faber)

Richard Price Lucky Day (Carcanet)

Jane Yeh Marabou (Carcanet)

Children's Book Shortlist

Frank Cottrell Boyce Framed (Macmillan)

Geraldine McCaughrean The White Darkness (Oxford University Press)

Hilary McKay Permanent Rose (Hodder Headline)

Kate Thompson The New Policeman (Bodley Head)


The Whitbread Book Awards. Launched in 1971 as the Whitbread Literary Awards, the total prize fund is £50,000 (103,498.00 CAD or (86,740.00 USD).

Shortlists archived to 1995.

Meet the judges of the 2005 awards in this Guardian article.

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