2008-09 MM The Booker Prize 2008 and the Culture of Literary Prizes

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  • Course Description

This course will offer an opportunity to explore the culture of literary prizes in Anglophone fiction on the example of the Man Booker Prize 2008. As UK's most prestigious literary prize celebrates its 40th anniversary, the course will introduce students to the main issues and developments of the Booker 2008, and invite them to analyse its background on four levels: textual analysis, marketing, reviewing and prize coverage. By the beginning of term, students should have purchased and read the six novels on the 2008 Booker shortlist:

  • Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger (2008) - Atlantic
  • Sebastian Barry, The Secret Scripture (2008) - Faber and Faber
  • Amitav Ghosh, Sea of Poppies (2008) - John Murray (Ibis Trilogy, book 1)
  • Linda Grant, The Clothes on Their Backs (2008) - Virago
  • Philip Hensher, The Northern Clemency (2008) - Fourth Estate
  • Steve Toltz, A Fraction of the Whole (2008) - Hamish Hamilton

We recommend the course to be attended in combination with Delia Duncan's "Academic Discourse in Literature: The Booker Prize 2008: selected readings" (3.02.516), Fr 10 - 12, A06 0-004.

For a preliminary seminar plan, see below.

A reader with secondary sources will be made available around the middle of September. A number of essays can already be downloaded from the links below. (Please, contact us if you do not yet have the password.)

The thirteen novels of the Booker longlist as well as a number of important books will be in the Handapparat in the University Library from the middle of August.

Please, sign up to the Booker mailinglist, check out the Booker website and be aware of the following —

Important Dates:

  • The judging panel: announcement on 18 December 2007
  • The longlist: announcement on 29 July 2008
  • The shortlist: announcement 9 September 2008 at a press conference at Man Group's London office
  • The winner: announcement on 14 October 2008 at an awards ceremony at Guildhall, London (televised live on the BBC Ten O’Clock News)

Click on Booker Prize for more information on the award.

  • Requirements
  • Course Requirements for credits as a Master Module "English Literatures":
  1. Regular attendance (you may miss up to two meetings, whatever the reasons) and
  2. active participation
  3. An oral presentation of max. 30 minutes to introduce the seminar discussion of one of the six novels
  4. A contribution to one of the "expert groups" which discuss the similarities and differences in textual analysis, marketing, reviewing and prize coverage for all six novels
  5. A term paper (generally dealing with one or several of the issues raised in your oral contribution; length ca. 15-20 pages for M.Ed.Gym.; 10-12 pages for M.Ed.WiPaed.; deadline 1 March 2009).
  6. Additionally, for students of the MA English Studies, a research project
  • Requirements for candidates for the Staatsexamenklausur:
  1. Regular attendance and active participation.
  2. A contribution to one of the "expert groups" which discuss the similarities and differences in textual analysis, marketing, reviewing and prize coverage for all six novels. Alternatively, you may join a group that produces short summaries of the seminar meetings which help you revise for the written exam.


Introduction and Discussion of Booker Web Site

Exeptional first meeting together with Delia Duncan's course (if possible, a kick-off evening together to mark the announcement of the winner of the 2008 Man Booker Prize). Details to follow.


Theory and Secondary Materials


Theory and Secondary Materials


Novel 1: Textual Analysis, Marketing, and Reviewing


Novel 2: Textual Analysis, Marketing, and Reviewing


Novel 3: Textual Analysis, Marketing, and Reviewing


Novel 4: Textual Analysis, Marketing, and Reviewing


Novel 5: Textual Analysis, Marketing, and Reviewing


Novel 6: Textual Analysis, Marketing, and Reviewing


Close Reading: Textual Analysis I


Close Reading: Textual Analysis II




Course Evaluation.


Outlook: Theory Revisited.
Feedback on course Evaluation.


Further Reading

  • Street, John. 2005. "‘Showbusiness of a serious kind’: a cultural politics of the arts prize." Media, Culture & Society 27 (Nov): 819-840.
  • Huggan, Graham. 2001. The Postcolonial Exotic. Marketing the Margins. London and New York: Routledge. (Esp. Chapter 4: "Prizing Otherness: A Short History of the Booker" 55-94.)