Skip to Content

'The Nobel doesn't sell books.'

22 September 2008

'In literary fiction, the big awards definitely translate to sales. And it seems to set up the writer for the rest of their career: Anita Brookner won with Hotel du Lac in 1984 and she's never without a contract. The late Bernice Rubens won in 1970 and sold for as long as she was published. If you win the Booker, the Costa or the Orange, your name will be known. But for some reason the Nobel doesn't sell books.

In contrast, I think the popular awards bring sales to the book but not readership forever. Popular winners are known on a popular level but not across all readers in the same way a Booker winner is...

There's blurring of the lines, anyway.Take Andrea Levy's Small Island. In the UK it won the Orange Prize, the Whitbread, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Orange 'Best of the Best' - yet it was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award! That shows you how different the views are of one book.'

Matt Bates, W H Smith Fiction Buyer, in Writers' ForumBritish writers' magazine which is highly recommended for all writers. It features wide range of news and articles which help writers to improve their work and get published: