Clark: 'You don't get to answer back'

<p>Booker judge Alex Clark says that judging this year&#39;s prize &quot;isn&#39;t as easy as it looks&quot; and regrets that she doesn&#39;t &quot;get to answer back&quot;. </p><p>Writing her first blog post for the official Man Booker Prize website, she wonders whether after years working as a literary journalist, she is &quot;poacher-turned-gamekeeper or vice versa&quot; and adds that the process is an &quot;exhilarating ride&quot;.</p><p>Commenting on the usual flood of comment on the longlist selection, Clark writes: &quot;The comments, both positive and negative, that have appeared in newspapers and online in the last couple of days have hardly taken me by surprise - in fact, I think they&#39;ve been largely well-informed, interesting and engaged, with only occasional moments of bilious ill temper - but there is one obvious sacrifice that being a judge entails: you don&#39;t get to answer back. In other words, as much as any of us might be itching to explain precisely why book x was omitted or book y included, what we admired about this novel and found disappointing in another, we must simply keep our mouths shut.&quot;</p>