Indian authors including last year’s winner Aravind Adiga, are conspicuous by their absence in this year’s Man Booker Prize shortlist.
Nine previous Booker winners including Adiga and Salman Rushdie submitted their entries for the award but only J M Coetzee and A S Byatt feature in the shortlist and the judges made no bones about the quality of the rest.
The winner, to be announced on October 6, will receive 50,000 pound and a vastly improved profile. Last year’s winner, The White Tiger by Adiga, has gone on to sell more than half a million copies and has been translated into 30 languages.
James Naughtie, the presenter of Radio 4’s Today programme and chair of the judging panel, said, “Just because you’re a former winner of the prize doesn’t mean you can’t write a bad book - and we certainly found that along the way.”
Among the 132 books considered for the prize this year, “there were some terrible novels”, he said.
Naughtie would not name names, but Aravind Adiga, Margaret20Atwood, Thomas Keneally, Penelope Lively, John Banville, Anita Brookner and Barry Unsworthy all submitted novels that failed even to make the longlist.
The favourite this year is Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, a historical novel set in the court of Henvy VIII.