The Booker Prize announced a book club challenge where the winners are invited to this year’s prize ceremony. Each year, the Booker Prize awards a literary prize for the best novel written in English and published in the UK or Ireland. South African writer Damon Galgut won in 2021 for his novel The Promise. We have yet to see the 2022 list of Booker Prize nominees, but the wait ends on July 26. On September 6th later this year, the shortlist of six books will be announced at the Serpentine Pavilion in London.
Only official judges typically review the nominees, but the Booker Prize partnered with The Reading Agency to involve the public in the process. This year’s panel chair is cultural historian, writer, and broadcaster Neil Magregor. The rest of the panel includes broadcaster Shahidha Bari, historian Helen Castor, novelist and critic M. Johnson Harrison, and novelist, poet, and professor Alain Mabanckou.
How the Challenge Works
The judges will choose six book clubs from around the UK. Representatives from each book club will attend the Serpentine Pavilion announcement and receive one of the six books on the shortlist to read with their club. They will have a month to read, write reviews, and be vocal about the novel on social media. At the end of the month, the judges will discuss all the book clubs’ reviews and social media activity related to their assigned books. Depending on who writes the “most original and engaging reviews,” two members of the winning club will travel to the prize ceremony and dinner at The Roundhouse in London on October 17.
The Purpose of the Challenge
It’s an interesting way to involve the public in the selection process. Each book club’s in-depth reads and reviews make the process collaborative while maintaining the confidentiality of the judges’ deliberations. The judges still have the only say in who wins the prize in the end.
UK-based book clubs can check out the application process here. The main question on the application asks what makes the applying book club special and why they are interested in participating. The deadline to apply is August 12, 2022.
To read more about book-related challenges and prizes, go to Bookstr.