This year the Man Booker prize could be going to a graphic novel for the first time in history. The committee for the highly prestigious British literary awards announced the 2018 finalists earlier today and surprised everyone by including a graphic novel. The novel in question goes by the name of Sabrina and was written by American author Nick Drnaso. This is a very important milestone for the format, which was often ignored in the past in favor of traditional novels.
Sabrina is a story that takes place in modern times and centers around the murder of a woman and the people trying to figure out what happened. What’s more interesting, however, is that the graphic novel also focuses heavily on internet conspiracies that slowly begin to emerge after the woman goes missing. Sabrina is actually less about the murder itself, which mostly just serves to further the plot. Where the graphic novel truly shines is in showing how everyone else reacts to the crime.
While no graphic novels have ever managed to win the Mann Booker prize, there were a couple that managed to win the US equivalent known as the National Book Award. That said, it’s still a very rare occurrence. That might be because this medium is younger or because critics don’t find a graphic novel to be as compelling as other forms of literature. Either way, it’s nice to see that critics are starting to change their minds when it comes to graphic novels.
The Mann Booker Prize Isn’t Just For UK Authors
Nick Drnaso isn’t the only American competing for the Mann Booker prize this year. Drnaso will be joined by two other US authors, as well as two Canadian ones and writers from Ireland. In fact, out of the 13 finalists, only 6 of them are actually from the UK. The way this works is that any novels written in English can be eligible as long as they were published in the UK or Ireland. As long as these requirements are met, the home country of the authors doesn’t really matter.
A grand total of 171 novels were submitted this year for the Mann Booker prize, a new record for the organization. The current 13 nominees will be cut down to only 6 on September 20. Chances are fairly high that Sabrina will be among them judging by the overall stellar reviews the graphic novel has received so far. The grand winner will be announced on October 16 at a special event hosted in the UK.
Should the graphic novel end up winning, Nick Drnaso will be awarded £50,000. That amounts to roughly 65,700 USD. Of course, Drnaso would also have the honor of being the first author to win by participating with a graphic novel. At the end of the day, that kind of recognition for his work is more important than the prize money, though £50,000 is certainly a nice bonus as well.