Man Booker no longer a man

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A massive hedge fund company stops sponsoring a book prize so it can spend the money on other projects. If we’d had a slow news day, you might understand why this became a story. Man is stopping its sponsorship of the Booker.

Whoop-de-doop. The prize itself has been mired in literary controversy ever since the eligibility test was extended to non-UK authors and a bunch of Americans won the award. Now the charitable trust is going to be forced to scrabble around to find a fresh sponsor.

No-one likes to go round with a begging bowl asking for money and you would imagine that some philanthropic corporate soul will be prepared to shove its hand in its wallet and throw a few shekels at the gong. But I’m interested in the reason why Man pulled out. The financial institution wants to pour more money into diversity projects. Nothing wrong with that – my point is not having a go at minorities or the underprivileged.

Why does a company as rich as Man need to make these things a zero sum game. Surely it can throw a few million at both? Apparently not. And that is a shame because now I won’t hear about that brand name nearly as much and I’ll have to learn a whole new name to prefix the phrase ‘Booker Prize’. And people complain about first world problems.

Do you think it matters who stumps the cash for the prize?

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