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Lerwick Book Group and the Man Booker project

Man Booker project

man booker logo Summer 2006: We were delighted to be picked as one of only six groups nationally (and the only one outside England) to participate in the Man Booker Prize process. This was the first year that book groups were involved. We got some copies of the six shortlisted books and had to read and swap them all frantically in the few weeks between the shortlist (14th September) and winner (10th October) announcements, then decide on our favourite. We kept an online diary about the group and its deliberations, had a web chat with one of the authors, got invited to the shortlist party in London, and generally got a feel for the process of this major literary prize. The group met at least once a week during the shortlist reading, with a final get-together on the night the prize was announced.


The Shortlist Party

Four group members - Karen, Morag, Laura and Aileen - made the trip to London for the shortlist party on 14th September. They had hoped the list would be announced live at the event, but it was slightly less exciting as it was announced at 3.30pm and they were informed in the Tate Britain with a phone call from Radio Scotland, who were giving a lot of publicity to the group's involvement. Surprising shortlist, and a disappointment that James Robertson didn't make it as he'd been to the Shetland book festival the previous weekend, and his book The Testament of Gideon Mack is excellent. There was a reception for group members at Random House publishers - a chance to meet folk from the other reading groups, then on to the the shortlist gathering at the London Library, which was very friendly and convivial. Book group members mixed with judges, authors, publishers and booksellers and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Hermione Lee, chair of the judges, welcomed the involvement of the reading groups in her address to the event.

London Library entrance The London Library in Picaddilly, venue of the Shortlist Party
Group at party At the party: Laura, Aileen, Morag, Karen
Group with Hermione Lee The Group members with Hermione Lee, Chair of the Booker judges
party Nice party, interesting old library
Aberdeen airport: reading our way home Waiting in Aberdeen airport: reading our way home


book cover

After the trip to London, it was down to three weeks of serious reading, weekly meetings,

  • a web chat with Kate Grenville - she was in Australia, it was 6am her time.
  • blog-keeping - online on the Man Booker site.
  • radio interviews, debate among members and with the other groups

and then the grand finale on the 10th October, when the group met upstairs in the Thule bar to watch the result on their big screen. The winner was the group's chosen favourite - The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. This was an exciting and very involving project for the members, who enjoyed all the reading immensely.

As well as the blog, the group kept a diary during the event - read it here.


Last Updated on 25 July 2013

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