The Battle of the Prizes Challenge (February 1, 2010 – January 31, 2011)

This challenge, hosted by Rose City Reader, looks like a lot of fun, and overlaps nicely with Book Awards IV, The Complete Booker, and The Pulitzer Project.  I’m going to take part in both Battle of the Prizes challenges, which seek to answer the questions:  Does one prize have higher standards than the other? Pick better winners? Provide more reading entertainment or educational value?  Maybe challenge participants will be able to answer these and more questions – maybe they will simply read three great books!

First, the The Battle of the Prizes, British Version:

This challenge pits winners of the English Man Booker Prize against winners of the Scottish James Tait Black Memorial Prize in a British Version of the Battle of the Prizes.


For this challenge, I’m doing Option One, and will read three books:

  1. One that won both the Booker and the James Tait Black prizes:  G, by John Berger (review)
  2. One that won the Booker but not the James Tait Black Prize:  Something to Answer For, by P.H. Newby (review)
  3. One that won the James Tait Black but not the Booker: Without my Cloak, by Kate O’Brien (review)

And then there’s The Battle of the Prizes, American Version:

This challenge pits winners of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction against the winners of the National Book Award.

For this challenge, I’m doing Option Two, and will read four books:

  • Two that won the Pulitzer but not the National Book Award
    • Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson (review)
    • The Hours, by Michael Cunningham
    • Tinkers, by Paul Harding (review)
  • Two that won the National Book Award but not the Pulitzer
    • Morte d’Urban, by J.F. Powers (review)
    • Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann (review)

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6 thoughts on “The Battle of the Prizes Challenge (February 1, 2010 – January 31, 2011)

  1. Thanks for signing up! I posted your link under the American Version and the British Version.

    I’m reading G too. I am interested to know what you think.

    How fun that you are doing the 4-book option for the American Version. I read both your Pulitzer choices — loved Gilead, wasn’t so keen on The Hours, but I’m in the minority on that one. I haven’t read either of your National choices, so am very interested to read your reviews.

    • RCR, thanks for hosting these challenges. This is my last opportunity to do the British version because after this year I will have read all of the Booker winners! For the American version I just wasn’t interested in any of the double-dippers and I don’t mind reading the extra book. Both challenges have high overlap with other reading I had planned for the year. I’m looking forward to it!

  2. Congrats on doing both challenges! I signed up for the British version and am looking forward to the books I have planned:

    Midnight’s Children (Both)
    The Corrections (Tait)
    Life of Pi (Booker)

    Looking forward to seeing your reviews!

  3. Laura —

    Thank you so much for participating in and completing both challenges! They officially end tomorrow, so I am putting up a couple of wrap up posts.

    The post for the American version is up now, here. All four of your reviews are listed with links.

    I’ll let you know when the post for the British version is up.

    I hope that you sign up for the American version again this year! The 2011 challenge post will be up on Tuesday.

    Since you’ve read all the Bookers already, you disqualified yourself from the British version. But, WOW! Congratulations on such a reading accomplishment.

    Rose City Reader

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