The Odds: which Canadian has the best shot of winning the 2011 Man Booker prize?
It’s that time of year again, and no, we don’t mean the lazy hazy crazy days of summer—we mean literary awards season. The long list for the Man Booker Prize was announced today, with three Canadians—including one Torontonian—vying for the top prize. The prestigious award—which lands the winner a whopping £50,000—is bestowed every year to a full-length novel written in English by a citizen of one of the Commonwealth nations (or, apparently, Ireland or Zimbabwe). Appearing alongside the three long-listed Canadians are top talents like Alan Hollinghurst, Julian Barnes and Sebastian Barry, chosen from a pool of 138 nominees.
We break down the Canadian contenders (and their odds) after the jump.
Author: Alison Pick
Home base: Toronto
Nominated for: Far to Go, a historical family epic set during World War II and inspired by the Kindertransport, which delivered a small number of Jewish children from Czechoslovakia to safety in England.
Odds of making the shortlist: 15:1. Pick’s novel has won over all the critics, but the subject matter isn’t fresh. Another war novel snagging yet another literary award would just seem like a rehash.
Author: Patrick DeWitt
Home base: Vancouver
Nominated for: The Sisters Brothers, a fractured, revisionist oater set during the dusty chaos of the California Gold Rush in which a pair of brothers with the surname Sisters wreaks havoc on the wild, wild West.
Odds of making the shortlist: 5:1. DeWitt is a first-time novelist with a fresh take on a familiar story, so he’s got the out-of-nowhere success story working in his favour. Also, westerns are so in right now.
Author: Esi Edugyan
Home base: Victoria
Nominated for: Half-Blood Blues, the tale of a black German jazz musician who is arrested by the Nazis and his friend’s mission to discover what happened to him.
Odds of making the shortlist: 7:1. We know what you’re thinking: more World War II? Yawn. But Edugyan’s noirish novel takes the reader beyond what they know of the war into a smoke-scented world of salons, jazz and Nazi resistance, and could just be mysterious enough to make the cut.