#ManBookerLive at the SouthBank Centre

Listening to Six Shortlisted Authors Read

Last night the six shortlisted authors of the Man Booker Prize came together at the SouthBank Centre in London’s Royal Festival Hall and thanks to seeing a tweet from someone present I discovered that it was streaming live from the Man Booker website.

So instead of reading another 200 pages of Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, I listened to her, NoViolet Bulawayo, Jim Crace, Jhumpha Lahiri, Ruth Ozeki and Colm Tóibín read from their books and answer questions from the host Mark Lawson and the audience.


It was a wonderful evening and risks making us want to read all the books, to see the writers presenting their works and sharing their private anecdotes about the journey to publication.

Today the live event has been uploaded to YouTube, so if you are interested to hear more about these excellent books, before tomorrow evenings announcement of the winner, here is the link to watch it yourself.

The event starts at 28 minutes 20 seconds.

Don’t expect it to help you decide, I think they are all winners and have no idea who the judges will choose. The bookmakers and the BBC are backing  Jim Crace, the quintessential English vote.

15 thoughts on “#ManBookerLive at the SouthBank Centre

  1. Thank you. I wouldn’t have known about this otherwise and you’ve just organised my evening’s entertainment. I have to back Jim Crace – I know his partner!


    • He is a delight to listen to, definitely wins the prize for the most engaging and entertaining writer, no surprise he is pursuing a more animated and collective form of writing next. I guess you have already read his book then?


        • Wonderful to have a personal connection, I have a feeling his star is in the ascendant!

          Enjoy your evening, I loved watching it, streaming certainly makes up for not being in London and you can put your feet up and have a cup of tea or a glass of wine with the evening’s entertainment 🙂


  2. I’m real glad to see Jhumpa Lahiri on the short list. I’ve read all of her works, short stories and the novel Namesake and seen the movie as well. Look forward to reading The Lowland. BTW, just learned that she and her husband and two children had moved to live in Rome in order to have a first hand ‘immigrant experience’. Interesting… ‘method writing’?


    • Wow, that will be interesting, Italy is a romantic notion for so many, but being an immigrant anywhere is tough work, regardless of circumstances.

      I hope you get to listen to the other writer’s as well, Jhumpa Lahiri is always a must read for me, but it is nice to be introduced to some new names even when some of them have been around for a long time. Let’s see who wins the big prize tomorrow. 🙂


  3. Guess what I will be doing this evening. Chilling the pinot grigio now. Thanks for this brilliant suggestion! I’ve only managed to read Harvest (loved it) and two-thirds of The Lowland (compelling …).


    • Enjoy! You’ll be in good company, haven’t heard much about Harvest, though read some comments today about it’s ‘accessibility to the reader’. I loved the piece he reads and he is certainly interesting to listen to when he speaks.

      Oh Patricia, so many books. And I hear so much about Ruth Ozeki’s book, I wonder if she might win, I think she gets the popular vote, the book that most people have loved, and her anecdote about the tsunami, earthquakes and Fukushima and her auditioning of fictional characters are all so endearing and intriguing, I want to read that now too!


  4. Thanks for this, Claire . . . It is a wonderful — and exciting — way to get a glimpse of their work. The only book I’ve read (so far) is the Ozeki book, which I think I mentioned in another comment. It’s really good — and I think you’re right in suggesting that its topical nature makes it a strong contender for the prize.


    • I agree, it was the perfect lead up to the announcement to actually hear them read and without the nervousness for the writers of awaiting a result. It would be hard to read on the actual night I am sure.

      It was an excellent result and I am looking forward to reading Ruth Ozeki very soon too. Now back to that hulk of a book I’m 500 pages into. 🙂


  5. Thank you for posting the video, Claire. Fascinating to hear the authors reading their own works and then talking about them. I maintain my earlier preferences and, despite the fact that I tried to read Crace again, I didn’t get much further than the last time and, in fact, did not like listening to him read his book either.


    • I am very pleased to have been midway through the winning novel when it was announced, no need to go out and purchase that one, for me a shortlisted New Zealand author is so rare, it will always be worth keeping them on the shelf, Eleanor Catton now the second author from New Zealand to ever win a Booker Prize. It was interesting when she was interviewed tonight on the BBC News her comment that she wasn’t so concerned about the change in the rules, she thinks it will open a new conversation between British, Commonwealth and American authors.


  6. Pingback: An Auspicious Ascendancy – The Luminaries | Word by Word

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