Anne Enright is the recipient of the 2007 Man Booker Prize for her book The Gathering. The annual award is given to an author from Britain, Ireland or The Commonwealth and includes a $102,000 stipend.
The other authors on the short list included Ian McEwan for On Chesil Beach, Lloyd Jones for Mr. Pip, Nicola Barker for Darkmans, Mohsin Hamid for Reluctant Fundamentalist, and Indra Sinha for Animal's People.
The problem with giving awards for anything (books, movies, TV shows, etc.) is that people do the choosing. We all have our own opinions regarding what makes something worthy of an award. We simply can't understand why everyone doesn't love the same things that we do. So, I do feel somewhat sorry for judges in this regard. No matter what choice is made, there will be some people who are unhappy. For this year's Man Booker Prize, it took the judges two and a half hours to make a decision, and according to the New York Times, Ms. Enright "wasn't everybody's first choice. She was "a choice with which all the judges were happy."
So, what does this mean? Does it mean that The Gathering is a far superior book to On Chesil Beach or Reluctant Fundamentalist? Or Hard Row by Margaret Maron (which happens to be the cozy mystery that I'm currently reading) for that matter? Of course not. It means that according to a particular group of people on a particular day, that particular book was chosen as deserving of merit. I haven't read The Gathering. In fact, I hadn't even heard of it until it won yesterday. I'm sure it's a fine piece of literature, and I may add this book to my ever-increasing to-be-read pile, but, not necessarily because it's an award winner. I'll seek out reviews and recommendations from other book blogs and from Library Thing before I make up my mind.