The prize used to champion unknowns and outsiders. But a 2014 rule change has cemented the neo-colonial cultural dominance of the US and the UK

The upstairs room of an indie bookstore. A book launch for a local author. Crisps and wine are being handed out, a buzz is in the air, congratulations are showered upon the young writer. I know – because I worked there at the launch of Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries.

When Catton won the 2013 Man Booker prize, people in the bookstore were crying. Looking back on that day, the store’s manager said: “I don’t watch rugby, but I did think, maybe this is what it’s like when we win the World Cup?”

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