London, Feb 1 : The late Indian-origin writer Shiva Naipaul is among 22 authors who were named Monday in the longlist for a one-off Lost Man Booker Prize for books published in 1970.
Shivadhar Srinivasa Naipaul, brother of writer Sir V.S. Naipaul, was named for his acclaimed first novel “Fireflies”.
Shiva Naipaul, as he was known, created a literary storm with “Fireflies” and went on to make a name for himself in travel writing, before dying of heart attack in 1985 at the age of 40.
“The impact of his first novel ‘Fireflies’ in 1970 was electric. It was showered with praise and won three prizes,” wrote Geoffrey Wheatcroft, former literary editor of the Spectator, a magazine that Naipaul wrote for.
Shiva Naipaul, who once described his life as “defined by three poles that don’t meet” – a man of Hindu descent, born and raised in the Caribbean, and settled in Britain – tells the story of a fictional Khoja dynasty in “Fireflies”.
Man Booker said the Lost Booker Award was aimed at plugging a gap in the awards.
“In 1971, just two years after it began, the Booker Prize ceased to be awarded retrospectively and became, as it is today, a prize for the best novel in the year of publication. At the same time, the date on which the award was given moved from April to November,” it said.
“As a result of these changes, there was whole year’s gap when a wealth of fiction, published in 1970, fell through the net. These books were simply never considered for the prize.”
A panel of three judges born in or around 1970 – journalist and critic Rachel Cooke, ITN newsreader Katie Derham and poet and novelist Tobias Hill – will select a shortlist of six novels in March.
As with the Best of the Booker in 2008, the international reading public will decide the winner by voting on the Man Booker Prize website. The winner will be announced in May.
Ion Trewin, literary director of the Man Booker Prizes, said: “Our longlist demonstrates that 1970 was a remarkable year for fiction written in English. Recognition for these novels and the eventual winner is long overdue.”
The longlist for the Lost Booker:
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” and Patrick White – “The Vivisector”.