Rushdie tipped to win Best of Booker, voting begins

May 12th, 2008 - 3:47 pm ICT by admin  

By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, May 12 (IANS) Bookmakers Monday named Indian-born novelist Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight Children” as the favourite to win the Best of Booker award after organisers announced a shortlist of six novels dominated by postcolonial themes. A global vote to select the winner began Monday and will continue until July 8. The Best of Booker will be announced July 10, the organisers said.

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

Although the much-decorated Rushdie, whose bag of honours includes the knighthood, is a British citizen, India continues to be the dominant theme of his novels - and none more than the celebrated “Midnight’s Children”, based around the partition of India.

“Midnight’s Children” won the only other celebratory award created for the Booker - the 25th anniversary Booker of Bookers in 1993.

Now 15 years on, William Hill has offered Rushdie 6/4 odds as the favourite to win again.

Second favourite is Barker at 3/1, followed by Carey (4/1) and Coetzee at 5/1, Gordimer (8/1) and Farrell (10/1).

Victoria Gendinning, a British novelist who chaired the shortlisting panel, said: “It was a great experience, revisiting all the Booker and Man Booker Prize winners, and very tough arriving at the shortlist - but we really feel that the six novels we picked represent the best fiction-writing of the past 40 years and that each one of them will stand the test of time.

“As to which of the six is the most important, and the most enjoyable, the Best of Booker - that is up to the readers to decide.”

Unusually for such an award, the Best of Booker novel will be decided not by judges, but by the public in a global vote.

Votes can be registered via the Man Booker Prize website ( and via SMS text messaging.

Voters need to text TBOTB to the number 81025, followed by the letter corresponding to their chosen title: A for “The Ghost Road”; B for “Oscar and Lucinda”; C for “Disgrace”; D for “The Siege of Krishnapur”; E for “The Conservationist”; and F for “Midnight’s Children”.

Users can unsubscribe at anytime by texting Stop TBOTB to 81025.

Voters have until July 8 to select what they believe is the best novel to have won the prize since it was first awarded April 22, 1969.

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