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August 16, 2001
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Naipaul in, Rushdie out of Booker first list

Sanjay Suri in London

While V S Naipaul's Half a Life and Manil Suri's The Death of Vishnu have made it to the first long list announced by Booker for its prize this year, two-time winner Salman Rushdie's new book has been left out.

The Booker short list of six appears in September, but judges departed from tradition this time to publish a long list of 24 from which the finalists will be selected.

Though Rushdie's new book Fury, to be published next month, was an eligible entry, the judges ignored it.

Former secretary of state for education Kenneth Baker, who is the chairman of the judging panel, said he wanted to end speculation about how the lists are compiled.

"I am very glad my fellow judges have agreed unanimously to produce an official long list for the first time ever," he said. "We hope the list will highlight the wide-ranging depth and quality of books submitted for this year's Booker."

Bookmakers William Hill have listed Beryl Bainbridge as 6/1 favourite to win the prize for her novel on renowned literary giant Samuel Johnson, According to Queeney.

Melvyn Bragg with A Son of War and Nick Hornby with How to Be Good come at 7/1, followed by Peter Carey (True History of the Kelly Gang) and Jane Urquhart (The Stone Carvers) at 10/1.

The publication of the long list emphasises the great amount of fiction of excellence being written. It also helps to make the point that getting on to the short list is itself quite an achievement.

The panel of judges includes novelist and critic Philip Hensher, Daily Telegraph literary editor Kate Summerscale, novelist Michele Roberts and Professor Rory Watson.

The short list of six will be announced on September 18 and this year's winner of the prestigious Booker Prize will be announced in London on October 17. The winner gets 21,000; the other five on the list get 1,000 each.

Others to make it to the long list this year are:

  • Derek Beaven (If the Invader Comes),
  • Ciaran Carson (Shamrock Tea),
  • Stevie Davies (The Element of Water),
  • Nadine Gordimer (The Pickup),
  • Patricia Grace (Dogside Story),
  • Abdulrazak Gurnah (By the Sea),
  • Zvi Jagendorf (Wolfy and the Strudelbakers),
  • James Kelman (Translated Accounts),
  • Ian McEwan (An Atonement),
  • Eion McNamee (The Blue Tango),
  • Andrew Miller (Oxygen),
  • David Mitchell (Number 9 Dream),
  • Ferdinand Mount (Fairness),
  • Philip Pullman (The Amber Spyglass),
  • Rachel Seiffert (The Dark Room),
  • Ali Smith (Hotel World),
  • Marina Warner (The Leto Bundle).
Indo-Asian News Service

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