Global poll closes, Rushdie tipped to win Best of Booker

July 9th, 2008 - 6:08 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 9 (IANS) Twenty years after stirring up a global storm with his novel “The Satanic Verses”, Indian-born novelist Salman Rushdie is in pole position to bag Thursday’s 40th anniversary special Best of Booker award. The winner of the one-off award has already been decided, but the author’s name will be announced to the world in a ceremony at London’s Southbank Centre as part of the London Literature Festival.

The unique award to mark the 40th anniversary of the Man Booker prize has been decided not by an expert panel of writers and critics but by ordinary readers who were allowed to vote online and by mobile phones.

Voting has been declared closed now after thousands voted from around the world for a shortlist of six selected from the 41 books that have won the Booker and the Man Booker awards so far, organisers said.

The novels are: Pat Barker’s “The Ghost Road” (1995), Peter Carey’s “Oscar and Lucinda” (1988), J.M. Coetzee’s “Disgrace” (1999), J.G. Farrell’s “The Siege of Krishnapur” (1973), Nadine Gordimer’s “The Conservationist” (1974), and Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children” (1981).

“Midnight’s Children” has been the bookie’s favourite from the moment polling began May 12.

It won the Booker of Bookers in 1993 - the 25th anniversary - and 15 years on was the favourite to win again, with bookies William Hill laying the odds at 6/4.

The allegorical tale based around India’s partition and freedom is widely acknowledged as one of the most important novels written in the English language.

Rushdie’s 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses” became controversial after some Muslim fundamentalists called it blasphemous and declared a fatwa on the author’s life.

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