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Survey says: the Booker is the most important literary prize in the world.

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December 23, 2021, 3:28pm

An interesting dispatch from prize world: as The Bookseller reported, a new international survey conducted by Nielsen Book shows publishers, writers, booksellers and media consider the Booker Prize the “most important” literary prize. The Booker’s status isn’t completely out of left field, but it’s noteworthy that the Booker beat out, say, the Pulitzer.

The survey, originally conducted summer 2020 and repeated summer 2021, found in both iterations that the Booker and the Pulitzer were best known, followed by the Costa, British Book Awards, and Women’s Prize For Fiction in the UK, and the National Book Awards and Newbery Prizes in the US. The Booker received the highest “importance rating” of the awards, in both years receiving the highest importance rating of the awards tested over UK/Ireland respondents, but trailing behind the Pulitzer, National Book Award and Newbery among US respondents. (Internationally, the Booker still came out on top.)

Nielsen also found that among publishers and writers, potential impact on sales remained the most important factor in choosing to submit to a prize, over domestic or international status. This gap widened from 2021 to 2021—likely because in a pandemic, sales are less sure, and extra money is extra important.

The survey was commissioned by an unnamed international book prize. To that prize: congratulations! Or, sorry. Depending.

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