Rushdie favourite for 'Best of Booker' award

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{image-Salman Rushdie_10072008.jpg}London, Jul 10: Indian-born author Salman Rushdie is the hot favourite to win the 'Best of the Booker' award on Thursday, July 10, marking the 40th anniversary of the coveted literary prize.

Rushdie was the overwhelming 1-8 frontrunner with his book 'Midnight's Children', which had won the Booker Prize in 1981.The five other authors in the shortlist for the prestigious award include Nobel Prize winners J M Coetzee ('Disgrace') and Nadine Gordimer ('The Conservationist'). The others in the list are Pat Barker ('The Ghost Road'), Peter Carey ('Oscar and Lucinda') and J G Farrell ('The Siege of Krishnapur').

Nick Weinberg of bookmakers Ladbrokes said Rushdie had attracted 90 per cent of all wagers on the 'Best of the Booker' award, reflecting expectations that the public vote would go to the most recognisable of the six authors.

The award would be decided by public voting and announced as part of the London Literature Festival.

''Arts awards are, as a general rule, tough to predict and it's rare that one selection is backed to the exclusion of the rest,'' Weinberg said.

''But that's exactly what's happened here,'' he added.

'Midnight's Children', an example of Rushdie's magical realist style, is the story of Saleem Sinai who is born on the stroke of midnight on the day of India's independence in 1947 and whose life loosely parallels the fortunes of his nascent country.

Rusdhie won the 25th anniversary version of the 'Best of the Booker' prize in 1993.

Coetzee and Carey were the only two authors to have won the Booker Prize twice.

The Booker rewards the best novel each year by a writer from Britain, Ireland or a Commonwealth country.


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