The MAN Booker Prize 2014

There are lots of literary highlights throughout the year, of course, but the Booker prize always stands out. Ask any British/Commonwealth novelist (it’s open to American fiction as well now…but we won’t go in to the rights and wrongs of that here) which book prize they want to win above all others and they’d say it’s this one; and not just because of the cash prize that awaits the winner either! Even if you don’t win, making the shortlist is a guarantee of greater exposure and increased novel sales, as love or hate your book, people are guaranteed to talk about it. But to be considered for the prize also does wonders for your reputation in the literary world.

The Booker stands tall above all other book awards because of its long and distinguished history. The judging panel is always made up of eminent names from the world of arts and culture, and for your book to get the seal of approval from them indicates that you have written a novel of exceptional quality: one that is both cerebral (aka Literary with a capital l) and tells a cracking story.

Yesterday’s Lit Soc gathered to discuss this year’s shortlist with its customary spread of books and tasty treats:

 

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As most of us had not read any of the current shortlist, we conducted a little experiment first devised by the author John Sutherland. It basically involves turning to page 69 of the book, and if you find you enjoy it, then it’s probably the book for you. Could be something you might want to try yourself next time you’re in the library, or in a bookshop.

Anyway, this resulted in some rather odd coincidences. For instance, Mr Sanders, randomly picked up Richard Flanagan’s The Random Road to the Deep North, a novel set in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp. His grandfather also spent time as a prisoner of war in a Japanese camp. Spooky. The ‘page 69’ experiment was most interesting, as several of the books on the shortlist certainly hooked us in, whilst one or two others, alas, did not.

The session ended with us placing our bets on who we thought would win, with We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler being the most popular choice. With less than three weeks to go until the winner is revealed, who do you think will win?

Summer Reads

Lit Soc is now three years old! It only feels like yesterday that Ms Huntley, myself and half a dozen or so Sixth form students sat around the ‘Curiosity Corner’ table in the upstairs area of the library, armed with tea and biscuits, a passion for books and only a vague idea of how we would take things forward. Looking back, none of us could have envisaged Lit Soc becoming the bastion of literary enrichment it is today. All who attend the talks, discussions and trips we run throughout the year have left inspired and enthused, ready to read something new and seek out the uniquely wonderful experiences that only a book, which can make you think and feel in ways you never have before, can provide.

Yesterday, we held our first Lit Soc meeting of the 2014-15 academic year, complete with cake, tea and other refreshments.

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Nourishment for the mind and the taste buds!

It was a storming first session and a lot of fun. We had a lively exchange of ideas, ranging from proposals for an odyssey to visit those Independent bookshops various people had visited over the summer (including a place recommended by Sacha in Year 10, who’d visited a place the rest of us had never heard of!) to designing a literary quilt for National Poetry/World Book Day. We were also fortunate enough to be visited by a girl who left us at the end of the last academic year, taking part in her last Lit Soc before she goes to Exeter University on Sunday. An excellent start to the 2014-15 programme!

So what did everyone read over the summer? Well, as you can see from the selection below it was a truly eclectic mix, which goes to show just how wide the gamut of literary tastes there is among Lit Soc’s members.

  Mr Bird               Ms Huntley

   Mr Humphreys      Miss Hansell

 Mrs Foster         Sacha, Yr 9

    Miss Gladwyn            Mrs Jones

  Miss Bland       Holly, Yr 13

   Liz, Ex-Pupil           Mrs Rendle-Short

    Miss Deeks        Miss Gilchrist

                                     Mrs Davies

 

Remember, whether you are staff or student, Year 7 to 13 or somewhere in between, everyone is welcome to attend. If you love reading and want to wax lyrical on your favourite books, or if you simply want to dabble with new colours in your reading palette by finding out more about books you’re not familiar with, then Lit Soc is the place to be. Watch this space for updates on Lit Soc’s talks throughout the year. Happy reading everyone!