I am quite spectacularly useless at pub quizzes. How can it be that I know nothing at all about Paris Hilton and her ilk, dangerously little about the All Blacks and am so abysmally bad at the recognition of pop stars. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have been reduced to banging my glass of Pinot Gris onto the table and demanding: “When will they ask me something that I know?” To which the Pub Quiz Wunderkind (PQW) from Customer Welcome countered – “What do you know, exactly?”
Well PQW, I know about The Man Booker Prize – the literary event that everybody loves to hate. Writing careers are made or broken on its back and it is about to wreak its annual havoc on the 9th October. I love the Booker prize for the massive interest in contemporary fiction that it inspires, so I took a vow to read every single Booker prizewinning novel from the beginning of time. Here’s what I have to look forward to this year:
- Peter Carey – Parrot and Olivier in America
- Emma Donoghue – Room
- Damon Galgut – In a Strange Room
- Howard Jacobson – The Finkler Question
- Andrea Levy – The Long Song
- Tom McCarthy – C
You can’t look at this list of loveliness and not be moved to ask: Which book would you choose as the winner? And this being the Booker prize, the follow on question: Which book will actually win?
Fast forward to my fantasy. It’s Pub Quiz night and some poor suckers have been saddled with me as a team mate. A double point question comes up: “What was the third novel written by Booker Prize nominee Damon Galgut?”
This is my fantasy, so only I will know the answer. It is the unforgettable The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs. The crowd will go wild. The PQW will come over all respectful, I’ll be shouted another glass of plonk and my team will win.
Is this too much to ask?
What are your picks for this year’s Man Booker?