Those of a certain age — among them veteran Canadian writer Margaret Atwood — may well remember the Eurovision Song Contest of 1969 in which four countries (the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, and France) won, the first time a tie had occurred.
It was greeted with astonishment and derision by Eurovision fans and for a number of years thereafter diminished the value of the contest.
The Booker Prize judges’ decision to break the rules and award jointly this year’s prize to Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo could do likewise.
Their decision diminishes not just the monetary and prestige value of this year’s award to both winners, but the prize as a whole.
Accepting the award, Atwood declared that she doesn’t need the attention, but Evaristo, as the first black female winner does.
Indeed, she expressed the hope that she will not hold that honour for long. ‘Making Your Mind Up’, sung by Bucks Fizz, won the Eurovision for the UK in 1981.
Perhaps the Booker judges never heard of the song or its sentiments.