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Man alive! Get set for the battle of the books

Posted at 3:00 pm, October 18, 2011 in Arts & Entertainment

Carol Birch's Jamrachs MenagerieOh, man, what a Booker it’s been this year. When the shortlist was announced on September 6, instead of noting the talented unknowns (Stephen Kelman and AD Mille) and the fact that four of the six books came from independent publishers, the unelected punditocracy blabbed on and on about the prize dumbing down and criticised Stella Rimington and her panel of judges for nominating novels we might actually want to read. Then, last week, a rival Literature Prize was announced, with the backing of John Banville and Pat Barker, two past Booker winners. Here we go again.Tonight, though, is the night when the chatter will stop, at least while the dickies are being straightened and the free bubbly is being speed-swigged, and one of the six shortlisted authors will scoop the £50,000 prize during a ceremony at the Guildhall. Julian Barnes remains the bookies favourite, with Carol Birch’s ‘Jamrach’s Menagerie’ second favourite (above). But you never know…

The shortlist for the Man Booker 2011 prize is:

Julian Barnes – ‘The Sense of an Ending’

Carol Birch – ‘Jamrach’s Menagerie’

Patrick deWitt – ‘The Sisters Brothers’

Esi Edugyan – ‘Half Blood Blues’

Stephen Kelman – ‘Pigeon English’

AD Miller – ‘Snowdrops’

Follow @timeoutbooks for news as it happens. Who do you want to win? Comment below.

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