Named at last, the candidates for the Booker prize for 1970

Sydney Morning Herald

Wednesday February 3, 2010

Jason Steger

IT IS a publishing maxim that many novels have a shelf life of only a few months.But two much admired books by two of Australia's greatest writers are back in the spotlight 40 years after they first appeared in print.Shirley Hazzard's The Bay of Noon and Patrick White's The Vivisector have been included on the 22-book longlist for the Lost Man Booker Prize.The one-off prize is to acknowledge novels that slipped through the judging net when the prize's conditions and date of award were changed in 1970.As a result, a group of novels published that year missed out on consideration.Hazzard and the late White join writers such as J. G. Farrell, Iris Murdoch and Muriel Spark on the list.Speaking from her home in New York, where she has lived for many years, Hazzard said that the listing was a big surprise. "I don't suppose for a moment that I'll get it," she said. "But it's nice to be remembered. I won't say that it's like being brought back from the dead but ..."It's a strange thing that it's being brought back after so long, but it's very pleasant. These are all very different writers and ... some of them - Patrick and Muriel Spark [and others] - are dead."White is included even though, while he won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1973, he had for a decade previously "refused every award and decoration offered to him", according to David Marr's biography of the writer.Yesterday, Marr said that - as far as he knew - by the time The Vivisector was published White had insisted his work not be entered for prizes."He was not anti-prizes. He was the honoured recipient of the Miles Franklin and he didn't half-mind getting the Nobel but he reached the point when he didn't want his books entered into prizes."A panel of three judges will choose a shortlist of six books and the winner of the Lost Man Booker will be decided by popular vote.The full list is Brian Aldiss, The Hand-Reared Boy; H. E. Bates, A Little Of What You Fancy; Nina Bawden, The Birds on the Trees; Melvyn Bragg, A Place in England; Christy Brown, Down all the Days; Len Deighton, Bomber; J.G. Farrell, Troubles; Elaine Feinstein, The Circle; Shirley Hazzard, The Bay of Noon; Reginald Hill, A Clubbable Woman; Susan Hill, I'm the King of the Castle; Francis King, A Domestic Animal; Margaret Laurence, The Fire Dwellers; David Lodge, Out of the Shelter; Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat; Shiva Naipaul, Fireflies; Patrick O'Brian, Master and Commander; Joe Orton, Head to Toe; Mary Renault, Fire From Heaven; Ruth Rendell, A Guilty Thing Surprised; Muriel Spark, The Driver's Seat; Patrick White, The Vivisector.

© 2010 Sydney Morning Herald

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