Booker Prize cops stinging attack for ‘Englishness’

Irvine Welsh has launched a stinging attack on The Booker Prize calling it a “highly imperialist-orientated” literary award and claiming that the organisers had failed to deal with a problem of “anti-Scottishness”.

Welsh, the author of Trainspotting, was addressing the Edinburgh writers’ conference and says that the Booker puts upper-class Englishness as a cultural yardstick and the failure to refute accusations of anti-Scottishness was a sign of “arrogance” and “intellectual enfeeblement”.

Welsh, noted for featuring lots of Scottish dialect in his novels, said: “The Booker prize’s contention to be an inclusive, non-discriminatory award could be demolished by anybody with even a rudimentary grasp of sixth-form sociology.”

He claimed that the winners have alternated “between largely upper-middle-class English writers and citizens of the former colonies, presumably to stamp legitimacy on this ‘global accolade'”.

The award, he said, was “based on the conceit that upper-class Englishness is the cultural yardstick against which all literature must be measured”.

The Telegraph

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Clayton Wehner

Clayton is the founder and managing director of Boomerang Books. In a past life, Clayton worked for 12 years as an intelligence officer in the Australian Army and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Royal Military College Duntroon and holds a BA (Hons) in Political Science and a Master of Management Studies (Human Resource Management) from the UNSW. He is also a trained Indonesian linguist and served with the United Nations in East Timor as an interpreter/translator.