British or English? The Manifestation and Reception of British Identities Represented in the Man Booker Prize.

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This thesis examines how British identity is represented in the Man Booker Prize shortlists and winners. Through a quantitative analysis, it discusses the occurrences of identities among the authors and novels represented in the prize. This analysis examines the preference of an English identity in contrast to Welsh, Scottish and Irish identities. Moreover, it features an examination of the position of non-Western authors appearing in the Man Booker Prize as tokens. The analysis of themes and settings represented in the shortlisted and winning novels positions the prize as mediated by nostalgia for British cultural heritage and as featuring a preference towards postcolonial novels. Case studies of the critical responses to two winning novels illustrate the critical reception of these identities. Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (1981), because of its vast success, exemplifies the role of postcolonial exotic identities within the prize. Midnight’s Children’s represented identities contrast with James Kelman’s How Late It Was, How Late (1994), which has undergone fierce criticism for its representation of a Scottish, marginalised identity.
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