So I see the Man Booker Prize is opening itself up to Americans. I wonder why; my cynical side believes it has less to do with enhancing “its prestige and reputation through expansion” and more to do with trying to grab a piece of American publishing money (such as it is) through what has euphemistically come to be known as “sponsorship.”
The Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards have always crossed the pond, disregarding the origin of a book so long as it has been published in the United States in the year of nomination. We go a bit further than the Booker in that BGHB will consider books first published in another language and subsequently translated into English and published here.
I feel like we have the higher ground. Publishing and promoting foreign books in the U.S. is really hard (unless you’re a door-stopping fantasy) but good for everybody. Prizes like the Batchelder and BGHB can help. But our (adult) publishing doesn’t need the Booker, and you can imagine the uproar if our National Book Award (or Newbery Meda)l threw out their arms to foreigners (who don’t live here).
But can you imagine the blood that’s going to spill under the rule that each publishing house can only make one nomination? Of course, we’ll probably weasel our way out of that rule. It’s what we do.