I am sure most Australian literature lovers will be aware that Meanjin is currently hosting their Tournament of Books, but if you were not in the loop, you really must check it out!
What’s it all about? According to Meanjin:
The Tournament is a literary prize… kind of. Finding a winner is less important in the Meanjin Tournament of Books than the arguing and debating of the competition. It’s about reading books you’ve always meant to read but never quite got around to, and about re-reading dog-eared favourites.
It is based, with their blessing, on The Morning News Tournament of Books, held in March each year, which has become the highlight of my, and many people’s, literary calendars.
The way it works is this: 16 books are chosen and then divided into pairs. A judge is given a pair, reads them both, writes up their decision process and announces which of the pair they deem the better book. That book then progresses into the next match to go up against a winner from a previous round. It’s a sporting tournament for people who don’t like sport.
This year, in light of the discussion around women’s writing and literary prizes, a short list of novels exclusively by Australian women have been selected. The contenders are:
Jessica Anderson Tirra Lirra by the River
One judge adjudicates each match-up, ultimately declaring a winner, and entertaining post match commentary is also provided.
For further information, to see who has made it to the semi-finals and to follow the remaining bouts of the tournament yourself, go the Tournament Page at the Meanjin website.