Monday, 8 September 2008

Man Booker prize shortlist 2008

The shortlist for this year's Man Booker Prize has now been announced, with two of my previous Books of the Week included. For my pre-announcement comments see below! The two favourites failed to make the shortlist, so the prize now seems very open. The Clothes on Their Backs will be the most difficult to find in the hardvcover first edition - the cheapest copies I can see at the moment (Ebay) are now £99 unsigned and £149 signed.

Aravind Adiga The White Tiger (Atlantic)
Sebastian Barry The Secret Scripture (Faber and Faber)
Amitav Ghosh Sea of Poppies (John Murray)
Linda Grant The Clothes on Their Backs (Virago)
Philip Hensher The Northern Clemency (Fourth Estate)
Steve Toltz A Fraction of the Whole (Hamish Hamilton)

My predictions:

The shortlist for this year's Man Booker prize will be announced tomorrow. There seems to be a concensus that this is a strong year for fiction, and there are a number of interesting candidates to choose from. The bookies currently favour Salman Rushdie and Joseph O'Neill, and there is a good chance that both will reach the shortlist. The Enchantress by Rushdie was published in two limited editions as well as the trade edition in the UK, with the 100 signed copy edition published in association with Blackwell's being the most desirable - you could still pick up a copy tonight at £100 if you are very quick on ABEbooks, which will be good value if the book is shortlisted.

Of the other novels, I previously chose The Secret Scripture and The White Tiger as Books of the Week, so I hope they do well. The one which will be most difficult for collectors if shortlisted will be Linda Grant's The Clothes on Their Backs, which was issued in a small hardback run at the same time as a paperback edition. The hardback is now very difficult to find at £30 - 50, with prices likely to rise significantly if it is shortlisted.

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