I heard about this growing controversy while surfing various blogs over the weekend. Some people in Britain are pushing to have a Literature Prize, since they argue that the Man Booker Prize rewards sub-par works of art. Two quotes from the article:
And yet there’s a consortium of people, headed by literary agent Andrew Kidd and supported by a host of literary types, who last week announced they were putting together a prize, to be known as The Literature Prize, for “writers who aspire to something finer.”
The Literature Prize is looking to do the literary equivalent of applauding houses built with staircases that require mountaineering gear to climb them.
If you read this blog often, you probably already know which side of the debate I fall on, but I’ll say it again anyway, mostly because I feel so strongly about this issue. Readable books are good books. The sense of inflated ego that comes from getting through a difficult book does not make that book more worth than one that is accessible. And books and literature should be accessible, on the whole. Isn’t that why we create art? To be read and enjoyed?