Irvine Welsh has spoken out against the Man Booker Prize during his appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this week. As reported by the Bookseller, Welsh maintained that the Prize is “based on the conceit that upper-class Englishness is the cultural yardstick against which all literature must be measured”:
Giving the keynote speech at the session on nationalism on the third day of the conference yesterday (19th August), Welsh said the winners of the Man Booker Prize have alternated between “largely upper-middle-class English writers and citizens of the former colonies, presumably to stamp legitimacy on this ‘global accolade'”. He said the failure of the Man Booker Prize organisers to respond to accusations of anti-Scottishness indicated that “the Booker apologists simply have no arguments to refute these observations. Hegemony not only breeds arrogance; it also promotes intellectual enfeeblement.”
He added: “The Booker Prize’s contention to be an inclusive, non-discriminatory award could be demolished by anybody with even a rudimentary grasp of sixth-form sociology. The academics who are custodians of the prize however, can only offer bland and complacent corporate PR speak in defence of an award based on the conceit that upper-class Englishness is the cultural yardstick against which all literature must be measured.”
For the list of Man Booker Longlist authors, see here.
*Edit*:To read Sam Jordison’s rebuttal in the Guardian, click here.