Presented by Field Notes: “Every March at The Morning News we present The Tournament of Books, a month-long battle royale among the year’s best novels. But it’s not really a contest. We’re not even sure it’s a “tournament.” What the ToB has been and will be, as long as we’re putting it on, is a month-long conversation about novels and reading and writing and art that takes place on weekdays in March.
Here’s how it works. Throughout the year, we gather, read, and assess the works of fiction we think would make worthy tournament competitors. In December we present our findings in the form of a “long list.” We then cull it to a final shortlist of 16 or so books. (Some years we expand the list beyond the core 16 to include an extra set of two or more books that compete in a pre-tournament play-in match.)
When the Tournament of Books begins in March, each weekday two works of fiction go head to head, with one of our judges deciding which book moves forward in the brackets, according to whatever criteria matters to them. Along the way, the judges reveal their biases and interests, any connections they have to the participating authors, and, most importantly, an elaborate explanation of how they decided between the two books…”