Friday, June 27, 2008

The Best of the Booker

Vote now online for The Best of the Booker. Pat Barker, Peter Carey, JM Coetzee, JG Farrell, Nadine Gordimer and Salman Rushdie are all in the running to win this one-off award, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Booker Prize.

The six shortlisted books, chosen from the list of 41 Booker Prize and Man Booker Prize winners, are:

Pat Barker’s The Ghost Road (1995, Viking; paperback Penguin)
Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda (1988, Faber & Faber; paperback Faber)
JM Coetzee’s Disgrace (1999, Secker & Warburg; paperback Vintage)
Nadine Gordimer’s The Conservationist (1974, Cape; paperback Bloomsbury)
JG Farrell’s The Siege of Krishnapur (1973, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, paperback Phoenix)
Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (1981, Cape; paperback Vintage)

The only time that a celebratory award has previously been created for ‘the Booker’ was in 1993 – the 25th anniversary - when Salman Rushdie won the Booker of Bookers with Midnight’s Children. Now 15 years on, William Hill has offered Rushdie 6/4 odds as the favourite to win again. Second favourite is Pat Barker at 3/1, followed by Peter Carey (4/1) and JM Coetzee at 5/1, Nadine Gordimer (8/1) and JG Farrell (10/1).

The six books span three decades – the earliest winner being JG Farrell in 1973, and the most recent, JM Coetzee in 1999. Winning The Best of the Booker could mean a hat-trick for either Coetzee or Peter Carey who are the only two writers to have won the Booker Prize twice.

The shortlist was selected by a panel of judges – the biographer, novelist and critic Victoria Glendinning, (Chair); writer and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, and John Mullan, Professor of English at University College, London.

The overall winner of The Best of the Booker will be announced as part of the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre on 10 July where the winner will be awarded a custom-made trophy.

I have cast my vote, now what about casting yours? Have your say now, it will take you less than a minute.

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