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The Man Booker Prize, a prestigious literary award previously restricted to authors within the U.K., Ireland and the Commonwealth of former British colonies, is expanding to include all novels written in English. This means that American authors and anyone else writing in English is now eligible for the award.
According to The Guardian, prize organizers also had to put in place a new set of eligibility rules. Prize director Ion Trewin said that that judges will still have a limited number of books to read, following this year’s 151. Trewin said he expects that the new rules will limit the number to 130 for next year’s prize.
The new eligibility rules scrap the previous ones, which stated that publishers can pick two books to submit for consideration. Instead, the number of books submitted by publishers will depend on how well they have done in previous years. For example, if a publisher has had five or more books make the longlist over the past five years, the publisher can submit four books. If a publisher has not had any titles make the longlist in that period, it will only be allowed to submit one title.
“The expanded prize will recognize, celebrate and embrace authors writing in English, whether from Chicago, Sheffield or Shanghai,” Jonathan Taylor, chairman of the prize trustees, said, reports The Associated Press. “We are embracing the freedom of English in all its vigor, its vitality, its versatility and its glory wherever it may be. We are abandoning the constraints of geography and national boundaries.”
Organizers added that the decision was made to fix a paradox that kept the greatest novelists in the English-speaking world from winning one of the most respected literary prizes in the English-speaking world.
Hilary Mantel won the 2012 award for Bring Up The Bodies. The winners of the 2013 prize will be announced on Oct. 15 in London.