Not The Booker, Not Quite Live…

One of the highlights of my bookish year so far (and there have been a few) has been being asked to be on the Guardian’s Not The Booker inaugural judging panel. There were two things I hadn’t quite taken into consideration though. Firstly, I didn’t think I would get to meet any of the authors who I was judging the works of, especially one of them who I had lived up to my name a little with, yet this weekend at the Not The Booker event in London I did. Initial awkwardness was encountered, eventually I think it ended up being okay though as all the authors were lovely. The other thing I didn’t expect was that I would have to judge ‘live’ – on air on the Guardian website and YouTube – yet this morning it was. And I thought I might share the experience with you (settle down with a cuppa)…

Hopefully I didn’t come across like too much of a wally. I am in bed with a bad case of man flu since coming back from London so I had to make myself presentable (I have pyjamas on from the waist down, ha) and I was worried my ‘literary musings’ tended to be along the lines of ‘I just liked it’. Oh and yes those are my bookshelves!

We came up with a winner in the form of the marvellous ‘Life After Life’ by Kate Atkinson, but it wasn’t easy – least of all because I was constantly thinking ‘people might watch this so watch your potty mouth Savidge’ – as the competition was super strong, especially from ‘Magda’ by Meike Ziervogel which is amazing and I will be telling you all about very soon. In fact I will be telling you about all the books in some form or another as I really want to discuss the debut novels of Zoe Venditozzi and Lucy Cruickshanks who I think might be two huge authors in the future. Not sure if Gaiman will catch on. Plus the debate of genre and chick-lit that Tullet’s novel brought up. So watch this space for more, and should any book prizes be looking for judges, well…

Let me know what you think of the video if you have a chance to watch it, would you like all prizes to be this ‘open’ to readers? Have you read any of the books shortlisted for the Not The Booker? Have you read this winner or any of the previous NTB winners?


Filed under Not The Booker Prize, Random Savidgeness

9 responses to “Not The Booker, Not Quite Live…

  1. LauraC

    Well, who am I to judge much considering that I haven’t the slightest idea who the other three people on the video are, but…I think that you did a superb job. You appeared very comfortable and certainly not sick. I can only speak for myself, but I think that the few videos that I have seen you do are your best work. You seem more comfortable in front of a video camera than anywhere else. Maybe it’s because you try harder there, but it doesn’t seem so. Pursue video work!! BTW, the only one of the books up for the prize that I read was Life After Life, and I loved it, although I thought it weakened toward the end.

    • Awww thanks Laura, the fact I knew people were watching was a little off putting it has to be said. I tried my best though, I just didn’t want to slate anyone but also wanted to be very down the line with what I thought. I am trying to get Victoria, who was one of the other judges and who works in TV production, that we need to try and come up with a TV book show.

  2. gaskella

    I voted for Magda, and was disappointed that it didn’t win. It seemed rather unfair to me that the Life after LIfe only got 2 votes from the public, but went on to win – but them’s the rules. I thought you talked really well – you came over very naturally – unlike Jordison himself who seemed very stilted. I’ve not read the Tullet book, but whether it’s chick lit or not, a good book is a good book whatever pigeonhole it gets put in. (Is it any good?)

    • All those thoughts about Life After Life went through my head Annabel, it has to be said. I just thought it was the finest book, that said now sometime later I think Meike’s is the best though actually following Booker rules she shouldn’t have been on the list which we only realised after the winner announcement.

      The Tullet is not good, regardless of genre 😉

  3. You did a great job. I like that this was recorded and we got to see how the judges discussed the books, but I don’t think I care if all book prizes (and their discussions) were this open to everyone. It’s a cool idea, but I don’t think I’d sit down and watch all those videos.

    I’m glad Life After Life won since you love it so much…I have a copy on my shelves and just haven’t gotten to it. I’ll definitely be reading it soon, though.

  4. Really enjoyed listening to this; and absolutely fascinating to see the judging process.

  5. Pingback: Judging A Book… | Savidge Reads

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