The Booker Prize 2019 goes to Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo

That’s what we callI want the butter and the money for the butter (we’ll leave the behind of the creamer alone, thank you). Or, in this specific case, wanting to ensure commercial success AND literary credibility. Not that the two are necessarily incompatible, far from it. But it would seem that the jurors of the Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious literary prizes awarded to English-language authors, find it difficult to believe that a single book can bring together all the qualities at once.

Margaret Atwood, the scarlet novelist is back

As a result, they crowned two writers, each embodying one of these two poles: the star Margaret Atwood and the more confidential and sophisticated Bernardine Evaristo. The first, a 79-year-old Canadian, is today an icon of Anglo-Saxon letters. Adapted in series, her dystopia “the Scarlet Handmaiden” has established itself as the Bible of feminism and resistance to Trump. It is for the sequel to this novel, “The Testaments”, already in the best-selling books around the world, that Margaret Atwood is today rewarded with the Booker Prize.

The sequel after the ad

Half gratified, since she shares this prize with the Briton Bernardine Evaristo (will the two winners also have to share the 50,000 pounds, or around 57,200 euros, which the Booker is endowed with?). This one is distinguished for her eighth book “Girl, Woman, Other” (Penguin), twelve stories of black women in Britain. Stories composed in free verse, where Atwood’s style is characterized by its narrative efficiency, and a style that some consider non-existent or even frankly bad. Like the American critic of the Wall Street Journal Sam Sacks, who assassinates “the Testaments”, “stupid and caricatural novel”from an incendiary tweet:

The Goncourt for Amélie Nothomb?

Born in 1959 to an English mother and a Nigerian father, Bernardine Evaristo is the first black woman to receive the Booker Prize. A prize like the Booker is an opportunity to make known a work still unknown to the general public. But isn’t that of Bernardine Evaristo likely to remain in the shadow of the giant Atwood? Wouldn’t she have benefited more from a spotlight on her and her alone?

This double perfectly illustrates the dilemma faced by the juries of the literary prizes: should they favor the avant-garde, literature in its purest form, or favor books that promise to sell well, or even which are already bestsellers, in order to save a sector in very bad shape?

Nobel Prize in Literature: the winners are… Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke

In France, the Goncourt, for example, seems to spare the goat and the cabbage by alternating from one year to another “requirement” and “general public”. Thus the Goncourt prize awarded to Pierre Lemaître, in 2013 with his bestseller “Goodbye up there”, was followed by that awarded to Lydie Salvayre for the most intimate “Pas pleurer”. Ditto with the imposing and ambitious “Boussole” by Mathias Enard (2015) which was followed by the more accessible “Sweet Song” by Leïla Slimani.

If they wanted to follow the bizarre example of their Booker Prize counterparts this year, they could crown, say, Santiago Amigorena and Amélie Nothomb.

We want to say thanks to the author of this write-up for this outstanding material

The Booker Prize 2019 goes to Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo