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Prize covers on the Man Booker shortlist

Books, Graphic Design, Illustration

Posted by Mark Sinclair, 13 September 2011, 15:56    Permalink    Comments (12)

Two first time novelists and titles from four independent publishers make up this year's Man Booker Prize shortlist and, encouragingly, in a sign that printed book design continues to up its game, the covers are in rude health too...

Take Suzanne Dean's design for The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (published by Jonathan Cape/Random House). Despite the presence of new life in the floating seeds, the cover bleeds off towards a foreboding darkness with the ends of the book's pages blackened, too.

A striking graphic approach from Dan Stiles works well on the cover for The Sisters Brothers by Patrick De Witt (published by Granta and Ecco/Harper Collins). The book design is by Suet Yee Chong at Ecco.

The placing of the title is what makes the hardback cover of Snowdrops by AD Miller (published by Atlantic Books) that little bit more interesting. The title is Russian slang for a corpse that is buried in the snow (revealing itself as it thaws), so the blood red type seems to suggest a supine position, heightened by the image of the trees as seen from the point of view of a body lying on the ground.

Perhaps the most conservative cover on the shortlist, Peter Dyer's design for Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (published by Serpent's Tail) employs an elegant typeface for the book's title.

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman (published by Bloomsbury) has a cover by Holly Macdonald, who makes good use of negative space to evoke the outline of a young boy and, also, some pigeons.

Finally, and possibly our favourite on the list, is the first edition cover for Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch (published by Canongate). Thanks to Tom Gauld in the comments below who let us know that it's the work of the excellent John Gray at Gray318. More of his covers at bookcoverarchive.com.

So while the Booker shortlist once again provides an interesting snapshot of the contemporary fiction market, the strength of the cover design in this year's crop is surely also something worth celebrating.

The winner of the Man Booker prize 2011 will be announced on October 18. Read more about the shortlist, here.

 

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12 Comments

The US edition of Jamrach's Menagerie, published by Random House, has a different, but also brilliant cover by Silja Goetz:

http://www.siljagoetz.com/06books/visor.htm

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Jami Giovanopoulos
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Jami Giovanopoulos
2011-09-13 20:08:22


SORRY- this is the correct link to the cover:

http://www.siljagoetz.com/06books/jamrach1.jpg
Jami Giovanopoulos
2011-09-13 21:54:55


Uninspiring...
Jason
2011-09-14 09:43:13


That 'Jamrach's Menagerie' cover is by Jon Gray.
tom Gauld
2011-09-14 14:11:37


@tom
Many thanks for that, Tom, I've amended the text accordingly
CR Mark Sinclair
2011-09-14 14:18:36


The Sense of an Ending makes you feel like you're reading on a Kindle with all that blackness around the edge.
bookselector
2011-09-14 16:21:27


Hats off to Canongate once again - proving that cover design is not just a commercial concern.
Chris Hannah
2011-09-15 14:00:26


Ha. I did a cover with text to the edge as per The Sense of an Ending.' The cleint insisted I moved the text away from the edge :-) Lovely work though.
john Amy
2011-09-15 15:07:29


Great selection of art. (Didn't really like the pastel US version though. Sorry Jami G!)
Max Scratchmann
2011-09-15 19:45:03


I just finished reading The Sisters Brothers last night. The cover image's theme is continued nicely inside with similarly illustrated pages dividing the book's sections. There are also two chapters labeled as 'intermissions', which are set in a different typeface to set them apart from the main narrative. It's an interesting idea, but comes off here as a little too cute.
Jonno Cohen
2011-09-18 11:21:52


I feel that The Sisters Brothers type-setting is terrible and makes the book really difficult to read. The font is too weak on the horizontals and not good for people with less than perfect eye-sight. I've commented extensively on this at my review of the book here http://bit.ly/qahVbX
Tom Cunliffe
2011-10-22 12:06:14


I used to love CR but I've become increasingly irritated by the amount of ads and the prommenance they get in the magazine. I know you have to pay for the publication but is there not a way to minimise the intrusion?

It beggars belief that an industry that's all about good design can so often produce such poor ads for its self.
rodger stanier
2012-04-06 23:09:14


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