The Guardian first book award is announced this evening.
- We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (Chatto & Windus)
- Sex and the Citadel by Shereen El Feki (Chatto & Windus)
- Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Picador)
- Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach (Picador)
- The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan (Doubleday)
One of the judges, Lynda Mountford, ruminates
About halfway through our deliberations it emerged that one of the most important criteria for judging this year’s Man Booker prize had been how far the novels on its shortlist offered up new insights on re-reading. I determined to use this as one of my own criteria, since it seemed to me that it could apply equally to fiction, non-fiction and poetry. On reflection, however, it does have some drawbacks. In particular it can prejudice the chances of “genre” fiction. One of the novels on the longlist, Gill Hornby’s The Hive, was a rather frothy mixture of romantic comedy, satire and farce. It was an enjoyable one-off read, but I would never want to read it again. So is there, perhaps, a difference between a good book and a good read? And is being a good read a sufficient qualification for winning a literary prize?