Thursday, January 26, 2012

2011 Challenge: Battle of the Prizes, British Version, Wrap-Up

2011 Battle of the Prizes, British Version: January 1, 2011 to January 31, 2012

This challenge pits winners of the English Man Booker Prize against winners of the Scottish James Tait Black Memorial Prize in a British Version of the Battle of the Prizes.  Good thing it ran until the end of this month, so I could finish.

Click here for the 2012 Battle of the Prizes, British Version.

Click here for the 2012 Battle of the Prizes, American Version.

I read four books for the 2011 challenge, two Booker winners and two James Tait Black winners.  I drew no big conclusions about the two prizes, other than the James Tait Black prize is no "me too" award -- it stands on its own.  Both prizes have been around for many years, but only three books have won both. Also, I have a general, perhaps unsubstantiated, feeling that the Bookers get to be more famous but that the Blacks are undercover gems.


Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (Booker; reviewed here)

Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd (Black; reviewed here)

Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth (Booker; reviewed here)

The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Sparks (Black; reviewed here)


  1. Interesting post! I want to make an effort to read more literary prize winners this year. I am familiar with the Booker prize, but not the Black prize, so I enjoyed reading this :)

  2. Book Girl: I've read some very good books because they won the Black award. It is worth looking through the list.


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