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Media debates Booker longlist
27.07.11 | Bookseller Staff
The newspapers have offered differing reactions to the Man Booker longlist announcement, made yesterday, with most hailing bookies' favourite Alan Hollinghurst, and the Daily Telegraph detecting a "more populist" selection.
The Independent chose to focus on the inclusion of Scottish indie Sandstone Press' The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers with the headline "Booker Prize pits tiny Highlands publisher against literary giants".
The paper described the 13-strong list as "headed" by Hollinghurst's The Stranger's Child (Picador) and listed "notable omissions" Justin Cartwright, Ali Smith, A L Kennedy, Andrew Miller, Anne Enright and Aravind Adiga.
The Daily Mail reported the Daily Telegraph's angle on the story, which was chair of judges Stella Rimington's fear that, although a market for fiction would exist in 100 years, electronic gadgets were distracting young people from cultivating a love of reading novels. She said" "I think much of the Twittering and emailing and texting and all that sort of stuff that children go in for now may be taking their eyes off reading fiction. When I was young we read more than the average child reads now." However she said that devices like the Kindle could "help turn the tide".
In a blog piece, the Telegraph commented: "So while the judges’ more populist tastes can certainly be seen in their list, they have also given themselves enough wiggle room to carve out a respectable shortlist", but predicted that former-winner Hollinghurst's "subject is probably too literary for him to win again".
Meanwhile the Guardian focused on Stephen Kelman's gang culture debut Pigeon English (Bloomsbury) and also mourned the omissions of Graham Swift, Philip Hensher, Linda Grant, Anne Enright and Aravind Adiga.
Any suggestion of disagreement between the judges was swiftly kyboshed: Rimington told the paper: "We've had a lot of fun today. It was an impassioned debate, but—without any acrimony and with a great deal of humour—we've come up with a longlist we're all pleased with."
FutureBook focused on which books were available to download and from where, with Amazon having nine of the 13 titles available for download on the Kindle, and already chasing those books not yet available digitally.