One of the most coveted literary awards in the English-speaking world is the Man Booker Prize, which “promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year.” But until last year, authors from outside the UK and British Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe were ineligible. Last year an Australian, Richard Flanagan, took the top honors. But this year, a Hudson Valley resident, noted literary agent and memoirist Bill Clegg, could turn out to be the very first American writer ever to win the £50,000 prize.
Clegg is among the 13 authors longlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize, for his acclaimed debut novel, Did You Ever Have a Family? It’s the tale of a woman’s cross-country odyssey to create a new family after those nearest and dearest to her are wiped out in a house fire on the eve of her daughter’s wedding. “I can’t recall another novel that so effortlessly weds a nuanced, lyrical voice to an unflinching vision of just how badly things can go for people,” wrote Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours.
Clegg will appear at Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 12 for a presentation, question-and-answer session and book-signing. That’ll be a scant three days before the Man Booker Prize shortlist will be announced, so expect an atmosphere of electric anticipation! Admission is free. Oblong is located at 6422 Montgomery Street. For more info, call (845) 876-0500.