So, with only a matter of days until the unveiling of the Man Booker Prize winner of 2015 on 13 October, who, according to the bookies at least, is the front runner? As things stand Hanya Yanagihara is favourite, with the best odds being offered on A Little Life being 6/4, then come Sunjeev Sahota (9/2), Marlon James (6/1), Chigozie Obioma (10/1), Anne Tyler (12/1), Tom McCarthy (20/1).
A memorial service was held this week at St Martin-in-the-Fields for Ion Trewin, the much loved editor, biographer and Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation, who died earlier this year. It was a joyous affair, despite the sadness, with a remarkable array of speakers remembering Ion as they knew him.
Man Booker aficionados might remember that last year's winner, Richard Flanagan, was predicted ahead of time by a ‘Mr Smith’, a mystery punter from the north east who claimed not to have read any of the shortlisted books but made his choice on the basis of scouring reviews and examining the judges' Wikipedia pages.
The shortlist is out and the first reactions are in. So what – based on a sample of initial reactions – does the world make of the Man Booker judges' six pick? Overall, pretty good. The name that really caught commentators' eyes, however, was one not even included, Marilynne Robinson, winner, as the Guardian pointed out, of the Pulitzer, the Orange prize and a National Humanities Medal presented by Barack Obama. A pretty good haul but she'll have to wait for the Man Booker. The shortlist, said the paper, saw ‘new writers surge ahead’. Marlon James, Sunjeev Sahota and Chigozie Obioma in particular, take a bow.
Marlon James, Tom McCarthy, Chigozie Obioma, Sunjeev Sahota, Anne Tyler and Hanya Yanagihara are today, Tuesday 15 September, announced as the shortlisted authors for the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.