1970 – year of the lost Booker

The Booker prize was never awarded in 1970. There were 22 books longlisted at the time (see below), and the award was reopened in February 2010. The press hailed this as an opportunity for Muriel Spark to win the prize, but she faced stiff competition, as this longlist shows:

Brian Aldiss, The Hand Reared Boy
H.E.Bates, A Little Of What You Fancy?
Nina Bawden, The Birds On The Trees
Melvyn Bragg, A Place In England
Christy Brown, Down All The Days
Len Deighton, Bomber
J.G.Farrell, Troubles
Elaine Feinstein, The Circle
Shirley Hazzard, The Bay Of Noon
Reginald Hill, A Clubbable Woman
Susan Hill, I’m The King Of The Castle
Francis King, A Domestic Animal
Margaret Laurence, The Fire Dwellers
David Lodge, Out Of The Shelter
Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat
Shiva Naipaul, Fireflies
Patrick O’Brian, Master and Commander
Joe Orton, Head To Toe
Mary Renault, Fire From Heaven
Ruth Rendell, A Guilty Thing Surprised
Muriel Spark, The Driver’s Seat
Patrick White, The Vivisector

The shortlist knocked the numbers down to six:

The Birds on the Trees by Nina Bawden (Virago)
Troubles by J G Farrell (Phoenix)
The Bay of Noon by Shirley Hazzard (Virago)
Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault (Arrow)
The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark (Penguin)
The Vivisector by Patrick White (Vintage)


And (sadly for Muriel and her fans) the winner eventually selected was:

Troubles by JG Farrell


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