LONDON: More than three decades after Iris Murdoch won Britain’s top literary award, and a decade after her death, she has a chance to win one again.

The author is up against 21 other writers who published novels in English in 1970 for the “lost” Booker Prize.

The books were never considered for the prize at the time. The reason? The Booker was originally awarded for any book published the previous year. But in 1971, it became a prize for the best novel published that year.

This meant that a raft of books published in 1970 were left out in the cold, and the Lost Man Booker Prize is an attempt to remedy the oversight.

“Our longlist demonstrates that 1970 was a remarkable year for fiction written in English,” prizes’ literary director Ion Trewin said on Monday. “Recognition for these novels and the eventual winner is long overdue.”

Ms. Murdoch’s A Fairly Honourable Defeat is up against The Fire Dwellers by Margaret Laurence, Len Deighton’s Bomber, Ruth Rendell’s A Guilty Thing Surprised and A Clubbable Woman by Reginald Hill. All the books on the list are still in print and available today. Ms. Murdoch won her Booker in 1978 for The Sea, The Sea.

A shortlist for the prize will be announced in March. The eventual winner is to be decided by a public vote on the Man Booker Prize website and will be announced in May.

The ‘Lost’ Man Booker Prize is the third special prize to be created by the organisation. To mark the prize’s 25th anniversary, a “Booker of Bookers” was created and in 2008, the 40th anniversary, there was a “Best of the Booker” award. Salman Rushdie won both prizes for his novel Midnight’s Children.

The prize was first handed out in 1969, and is open to writers from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth. — AP