literary awards

The Booker Prize is supposed to make a novel famous. How many of these six winners do you remember?

These are just six of the winning titles that did not remain famous years later.

There’s no question that the Man Booker Prize is one of the most prestigious literary awards for a novelist writing in English. The award comes with a £50,000 prize, an inevitable increase in sales of the winning book and of course, larger advances for the winning writers. As the authors of this year’s shortlisted novels wait for the announcement of the winner later today, October 17, their book sales have shot up since they made the list. For those keeping track, Ali Smith’s Autumn is leading in sales, but George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo is the favourite to win with betting site Ladbrokes.

Being a Booker Prize winner catapults a novelist into the company of literary giants like Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan and Hilary Mantel. Some of the most acclaimed and popular novels of the last 48 years (which is how long the prize has been in existence) have found themselves on the winners list, from The English Patient to The God of Small Things.

Despite the hype and scrutiny in the year of their win, however, not all books stand the test of time. To-read lists are long and reader attentions short, as shown by these novels that won the coveted prize but slipped through the cracks of public memory.

Holiday, Stanley Middleton (1974)

Written by English novelist Stanley Middleton, Holiday had the dubious distinction of being the first book to share the award with another title, Nadine Gordimer’s The Conversationist. Middleton’s quiet novel follows Edwin Fisher, a lecturer who goes to an unremarkable seaside resort for a holiday. Not much happens to the protagonist but most of the novel takes place inside his head, revealing the workings of Fisher’s insecurities, contempt with the world and vulnerabilities.

Middleton, who died in 2009 at the age of 89, published more than 40 novels in his lifetime, but even the Booker win did little to elevate him to mass popularity. In 2006, The Times pranked publishers and literary agents by anonymously sending them the first chapter of the relatively obscure book to consider for publication – only one thought it worthy enough to see the remaining chapters.

Saville, David Storey (1976)

Set in 1930s England, Saville is the story of a coal mining family in Saxton, Yorkshire. Its lead character, a young man named Colin, who endures the hardships of living in a mining village during the Second World War, is plagued by poverty and dreams of becoming a writer in London.

The book is assumed to be heavily autobiographical – Storey grew up as a miner’s son in rural Yorkshire and eventually became a writer in London – but even its honest intimacy didn’t earn it a lasting place on bookshelves. Storey, hardly a household name to begin with, is better-known for writing This Sporting Life, about a Northern England man who goes on and tries to make it as a rugby league player.

Moon Tiger, Penelope Lively (1987)

Another novel set during and around the Second World War (there might be a pattern here), Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively was dismissed at the time of its win as “the housewife’s choice.” Literary and sexist snobbery aside, the book has since been celebrated for its complex, independent and wonderfully selfish heroine, Claudia Hampton, a historian dying of cancer.

In a masterful narrative that travels across time as Hampton reviews her life, Lively unveils a tragic love story as well as a deeply nuanced reflection on memory and history. Despite its merits, Moon Tiger remains largely forgotten, unlike its Booker-winning contemporaries from the 1980s, such as Midnight’s Children or The Remains of the Day.

How Late It Was, How Late, James Kelman (1994)

When it won the Booker Prize in 1994, Scottish writer James Kelman’s How Late It Was, How Late was a highly controversial choice. The book, written in a Scottish working class dialect, angered many critics and columnists for its writing style and heavy profanity. One of the judges on that year’s panel, Rabbi Julia Neuberger, famously stormed off when it was awarded the prize and The Independent, while reviewing it, sniffily estimated that Kelman must have used the F-word approximately 4,000 times in the novel.

Over two decades later though, the stream-of-consciousness novel, which follows Sammy, an ex-convict in Glasgow, hasn’t made as lasting a mark in public memory as the controversy might have suggested. Other Scottish writers such as Irvine Welsh, who also paid no heed to restraint in profanity went on to capture a much larger following of readers.

The Gathering, Anne Enright (2007)

Largely considered as an outlier when it was shortlisted, The Gathering by Irish author Anne Enright went on to win the prize for its incisive, stark depiction of Veronica, a 39-year-old woman dealing with the death of her alcoholic brother. Running back and forth between her memories from the past and the weight of the present, Veronica is overcome by grief, resentment towards her family and a quest to make sense of the tragedy.

The Gathering is a relentless and sharp novel that showcases Enright’s tremendous skill but it remains woefully unread for a book that won the Man Booker Prize just ten years ago, especially compared to the novels it edged out from that year’s shortlist, including The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (a shortlisted author this year as well).

The Finkler Question, Howard Jacobson (2010)

Although it might not be as obscure as the other books on the list, The Finkler Question finds itself here when judged on the criterion of recentness. It is an intuitively witty exploration of the essence of Jewishness and a worthy winner of the prize. But the novel, only published seven years ago, hasn’t found the kind of widespread success that other recent Booker winners have garnered. It finds itself sandwiched, for instance, between heavyweight novels such as Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending, which won in 2009 and 2011 respectively.

Howard Jacobson’s oft-repeated quip about what he would do with the prize money is likely to have sticking power though. In his acceptance speech the British writer announced he was going to spend the £50,000 amount on a handbag for his wife, asking, “Have you seen the price of handbags?”

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

The next Industrial Revolution is here – driven by the digitalization of manufacturing processes

Technologies such as Industry 4.0, IoT, robotics and Big Data analytics are transforming the manufacturing industry in a big way.

The manufacturing industry across the world is seeing major changes, driven by globalization and increasing consumer demand. As per a report by the World Economic Forum and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd on the future of manufacturing, the ability to innovate at a quicker pace will be the major differentiating factor in the success of companies and countries.

This is substantiated by a PWC research which shows that across industries, the most innovative companies in the manufacturing sector grew 38% (2013 - 2016), about 11% year on year, while the least innovative manufacturers posted only a 10% growth over the same period.

Along with innovation in products, the transformation of manufacturing processes will also be essential for companies to remain competitive and maintain their profitability. This is where digital technologies can act as a potential game changer.

The digitalization of the manufacturing industry involves the integration of digital technologies in manufacturing processes across the value chain. Also referred to as Industry 4.0, digitalization is poised to reshape all aspects of the manufacturing industry and is being hailed as the next Industrial Revolution. Integral to Industry 4.0 is the ‘smart factory’, where devices are inter-connected, and processes are streamlined, thus ensuring greater productivity across the value chain, from design and development, to engineering and manufacturing and finally to service and logistics.

Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence and Big Data analytics are some of the key technologies powering Industry 4.0. According to a report, Industry 4.0 will prompt manufacturers globally to invest $267 billion in technologies like IoT by 2020. Investments in digitalization can lead to excellent returns. Companies that have implemented digitalization solutions have almost halved their manufacturing cycle time through more efficient use of their production lines. With a single line now able to produce more than double the number of product variants as three lines in the conventional model, end to end digitalization has led to an almost 20% jump in productivity.

Digitalization and the Indian manufacturing industry

The Make in India program aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing industry to the country’s GDP from 16% to 25% by 2022. India’s manufacturing sector could also potentially touch $1 trillion by 2025. However, to achieve these goals and for the industry to reach its potential, it must overcome the several internal and external obstacles that impede its growth. These include competition from other Asian countries, infrastructural deficiencies and lack of skilled manpower.

There is a common sentiment across big manufacturers that India lacks the eco-system for making sophisticated components. According to FICCI’s report on the readiness of Indian manufacturing to adopt advanced manufacturing trends, only 10% of companies have adopted new technologies for manufacturing, while 80% plan to adopt the same by 2020. This indicates a significant gap between the potential and the reality of India’s manufacturing industry.

The ‘Make in India’ vision of positioning India as a global manufacturing hub requires the industry to adopt innovative technologies. Digitalization can give the Indian industry an impetus to deliver products and services that match global standards, thereby getting access to global markets.

The policy, thus far, has received a favourable response as global tech giants have either set up or are in the process of setting up hi-tech manufacturing plants in India. Siemens, for instance, is helping companies in India gain a competitive advantage by integrating industry-specific software applications that optimise performance across the entire value chain.

The Digital Enterprise is Siemens’ solution portfolio for the digitalization of industries. It comprises of powerful software and future-proof automation solutions for industries and companies of all sizes. For the discrete industries, the Digital Enterprise Suite offers software and hardware solutions to seamlessly integrate and digitalize their entire value chain – including suppliers – from product design to service, all based on one data model. The result of this is a perfect digital copy of the value chain: the digital twin. This enables companies to perform simulation, testing, and optimization in a completely virtual environment.

The process industries benefit from Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations by utilizing a continuous data model of the entire lifecycle of a plant that helps to increase flexibility and efficiency. Both offerings can be easily customized to meet the individual requirements of each sector and company, like specific simulation software for machines or entire plants.

Siemens has identified projects across industries and plans to upgrade these industries by connecting hardware, software and data. This seamless integration of state-of-the-art digital technologies to provide sustainable growth that benefits everyone is what Siemens calls ‘Ingenuity for Life’.

Case studies for technology-led changes

An example of the implementation of digitalization solutions from Siemens can be seen in the case of pharma major Cipla Ltd’s Kurkumbh factory.

Cipla needed a robust and flexible distributed control system to dispense and manage solvents for the manufacture of its APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients used in many medicines). As part of the project, Siemens partnered with Cipla to install the DCS-SIMATIC PCS 7 control system and migrate from batch manufacturing to continuous manufacturing. By establishing the first ever flow Chemistry based API production system in India, Siemens has helped Cipla in significantly lowering floor space, time, wastage, energy and utility costs. This has also improved safety and product quality.

In yet another example, technology provided by Siemens helped a cement plant maximise its production capacity. Wonder Cement, a greenfield project set up by RK Marbles in Rajasthan, needed an automated system to improve productivity. Siemens’ solution called CEMAT used actual plant data to make precise predictions for quality parameters which were previously manually entered by operators. As a result, production efficiency was increased and operators were also freed up to work on other critical tasks. Additionally, emissions and energy consumption were lowered – a significant achievement for a typically energy intensive cement plant.

In the case of automobile major, Mahindra & Mahindra, Siemens’ involvement involved digitalizing the whole product development system. Siemens has partnered with the manufacturer to provide a holistic solution across the entire value chain, from design and planning to engineering and execution. This includes design and software solutions for Product Lifecycle Management, Siemens Technology for Powertrain (STP) and Integrated Automation. For Powertrain, the solutions include SINUMERIK, SINAMICS, SIMOTICS and SIMATIC controls and drives, besides CNC and PLC-controlled machines linked via the Profinet interface.

The above solutions helped the company puts its entire product lifecycle on a digital platform. This has led to multi-fold benefits – better time optimization, higher productivity, improved vehicle performance and quicker response to market requirements.

Siemens is using its global expertise to guide Indian industries through their digital transformation. With the right technologies in place, India can see a significant improvement in design and engineering, cutting product development time by as much as 30%. Besides, digital technologies driven by ‘Ingenuity for Life’ can help Indian manufacturers achieve energy efficiency and ensure variety and flexibility in their product offerings while maintaining quality.

Play

The above examples of successful implementation of digitalization are just some of the examples of ‘Ingenuity for Life’ in action. To learn more about Siemens’ push to digitalize India’s manufacturing sector, see here.

This article was produced on behalf of Siemens by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.