Thu 21 November 2019
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Judge withdraws over Philip Roth's Booker win
Carmen Callil retires from panel after decision to give award to writer whose work she considers a case of 'Emperor's clothes'

Author and publisher Carmen Callil has withdrawn from the judging panel of the Man Booker International prize over its decision to honour Philip Roth with the £60,000 award. Dismissing the Pulitzer prize-winning author, Callil said that "he goes on and on and on about the same subject in almost every single book. It's as though he's sitting on your face and you can't breathe".

One of three judges on the panel for the literary award, alongside rare book dealer and author Rick Gekoski, who acted as chair, and novelist Justin Cartwright, this morning Callil revealed that, after the decision was made to give the prize to Roth from a shortlist which also featured Philip Pullman, Anne Tyler and Marilynne Robinson, she decided to retire from the panel.

"I don't rate him as a writer at all. I made it clear that I wouldn't have put him on the longlist, so I was amazed when he stayed there. He was the only one I didn't admire – all the others were fine," said Callil, who will explain why she believes Roth is not a worthy winner in an outspoken column in the Guardian Review on Saturday 21 May. "Roth goes to the core of their [Cartwright and Gekoski's] beings. But he certainly doesn't go to the core of mine ... Emperor's clothes: in 20 years' time will anyone read him?"

For the full article

The Guardian
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