Booker Prize to admit American authors

Founded in 1969,the Booker has previously been open only to writers from Britain,Ireland and the 54-nation Commonwealth of former British colonies.

Written by Associated Press | London | Published: September 19, 2013 1:11 am

The Americans are coming to storm Britain’s literary citadel as organisers of the Booker Prize announced Wednesday that from next year,authors from the United States and around the world will be eligible to win the prestigious fiction award.

Prize trustees said starting in 2014,the prize will be open to all novels written in English and published in Britain,regardless of the author’s nationality.

Founded in 1969,the Booker has previously been open only to writers from Britain,Ireland and the 54-nation Commonwealth of former British colonies.

That has not kept the award officially known as the Man Booker Prize after its sponsor,financial services firm Man Group PLC from becoming one of the world’s best-known literary prizes,one that carries both prestige and commercial clout. Past winners include V S Naipaul,Salman Rushdie,Margaret Atwood,Ian McEwan and Hilary Mantel.

“The expanded prize will recognise,celebrate and embrace authors writing in English,whether from Chicago,Sheffield or Shanghai,” said Jonathan Taylor,chairman of the prize trustees. “We are abandoning the constraints of geography and national boundaries.”

They said they had considered setting up a separate US prize,but rejected the idea for fear of “jeopardizing or diluting” the existing award.

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