Booker prize judge Louise Doughty reckons that male academics on the judging panels of contemporary book prizes choose "the literary and the obscure to impress their colleagues." She must be right, of course. I mean, if we take a look at the last, say, ten books to win the Booker Prize we'll find such obscure, rebarbative and arcane titles as The Life of Pi, Vernon God Little and The Inheritance of Loss, books that can only be read and understood by the snobbish literary elite with their big heads packed full of big, bookish brains.

These previous Booker winners aren't the dreadful, sentimental tosh I took them to be but are, it would seem, inaccessible and highbrow.

God knows which of the six shortlisted titles will win tonight, but we can rest easy that it won't be something that will make us actually have to think. Thank the Lord for that. No, thank Doughty.

Readers Comments

  1. Well put.

    I presume Doughty and DJ Taylor think instead of those not "au fait" with "the current state of writing" such as - oh I dunno, politicians and tv presenters - the prize committee should be made up of people who read and review contemporary fiction for daily newspapers. How about John Sutherland and John Carey?

  2. It's almost reassuring to note how often the same article appears, over and over again.

  3. Mark,

    I feel the same as you:

  4. This really was a contemptible little whine, wasn't it? I understand Doughty's bitterness. I had a look at one of her own novels once and it was pretty clear that it was not so much the kind of book to win a literary prize (even a discredited literary prize) as the kind of book to be given away in a plastic pouch with a women's magazine.

  5. Now hang on. Though I would agree that Doughty's bigoted, anti-intellectual views would prove her to be an unsuitable judge for a literary prize, I must defend one of the titles caught in the crossfire here.
    Though Vernon God Little is not inaccessible, or highbrow; neither is it sentimental tosh. It is intelligently written, and I liked it.
    I'll give you Life of Pi though. That is a little saccharine.

  6. Also:

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