October 12, 2017
Voting is now open for 2017 the Not the Booker Prize
by Peter Clark
Roll those eyes back front and snap the spectacles up the ridge of your nose. It’s that special time of year when your vote could earn one deserving book the most distinguished trophy in all of trophydom — a Guardian coffee mug. That’s right, the Not the Booker Prize is back, with an egalitarian vengeance.
In its ninth year, the Not the Booker now has a reputation for being “the people’s” book award. A tongue-in-cheek critique of top literary prizes, it goes every year to the book with the most love in the Guardian’s comment section.
We’ve reported on this before, but just to recap the process: every year, the Guardian announces the prize with a blog post, inviting readers to nominate books in the comments. That list gets whittled down a bit, and a new blog post emerges as a shortlist — a process resembling, but in no way affiliated with, that of the award’s spiritual father-prize, the Man Booker. All books eligible for the Man Booker qualify for the Not the Booker, too.
This week, readers can vote on their favorite of the top five, with three “average joe” judges to assist in a non-specified way as well. The titles in contention are:
- Not Thomas by Sara Gethin
- Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li
- The Threat Level Remains Severe by Rowena Macdonald
- Man With a Seagull on His Head by Harriet Paige
- Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
Votes are already rolling in and will be through October 15. Make sure to add your comments here to take part in the deliberations.
And in case you were wondering, the Rule 13 of the contest’s Terms and Conditions states clearly:
The author of the winning book will receive a Guardian mug. They may not want it, but there’s nothing we can do about that. No prizes will be awarded to readers for submitting a nomination, voting or judging, but you will have our undying gratitude for taking part, cracking jokes about the entries or sniping from the sidelines, as you see fit. Readers who would like to take a pop at Sam about the balanced and fair nature of any commentary will receive responses that are balanced and fair.
I, for one, am looking forward to seeing Guardian branding imposed on one of the year’s best writers.
Peter Clark is the sales manager at Melville House.