Portland-based novelist Patrick deWitt's magical run to the top of the British literary establishment—he was like Harry Potter, if Harry had been a writer, a Canadian, and not disgusted by this analogy—ended this afternoon when he lost the Man Booker Prize to the heavily favored actual British person Julian Barnes.
36-year-old deWitt, who arrived in Portland from Los Angeles in 2008, shouldn't be too distressed: Already this year he invaded the Brit lit scene by being named to the Booker longlist (13 books) and shortlist (six books) for his second novel, The Sisters Brothers. (It's a comic western about murderous Oregon brothers named Sisters.) He also got rave reviews for Terri, the movie he wrote starring John C. Reilly.
A native of British Columbia, DeWitt was in London this week attending ceremonies for the Man Booker, widely considered the preeminent award in English letters. He told WW in July that he was surprised just to make the longlist: "I knew I was eligible because I’m Canadian, but I didn’t know the book had been submitted, and I’ve never really thought of my work as being far-reaching enough to be included on lists like that."
Previous Patrick deWitt coverage in WW: