WOOHOO! TWO PEOPLE I know have made it all the way to the Booker Prize shortlist, announced yesterday. Well done Tan Twan Eng of KL and Jeet Thayil of India.
These are two great people, the nicest, most regular guys you could hope to meet. Yet they made it on to the short list for the world’s top book prize–and look who didn’t: Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, John Banville, Peter Carey and Zadie Smith all had new books out which the judges rejected.
I first met Jeet (top picture, right) doing a concert at a literary festival – a cool young musical punk who is so of-the-moment that it is astonishing that he can also beat the graybeards at their game. Keep rocking, Jeet.
The Guardian points out that the work of Tan (top left) was printed by a small publisher called Myrmidon after the big ones rejected him. "I was turned down by almost all the publishers in the UK. They said it was difficult to market and they didn't know what to do with it and it was Myrmidon who were brave enough to take a chance on me."
So the lesson here is: write your darn book and don’t diss the small presses!