/ 9 September 2009

JM Coetzee in running for third Booker crown

South African author JM Coetzee is in the running for an unprecedented third Booker Prize, after he was named on this year’s shortlist on Tuesday.

Coetzee’s fictionalised memoir Summertime will be competing against the bookmakers’ favourite Wolf Hall, by British writer Hilary Mantel, an historical novel about King Henry VIII’s advisor Thomas Cromwell.

Sarah Waters will be hoping to make it third time lucky with her novel The Little Stranger — she has been shortlisted twice before without winning.

Completing the shortlist of this year’s contenders are Simon Mawer’s The Glass Room, Adam Foulds’ The Quickening Maze and The Children’s Book by AS Byatt.

Coetzee, the 2003 Nobel Prize winner for literature, won the Booker for Disgrace in 1999 and Life and Times of Michael K in 1983.

The winner will be announced on October 6 — and if it is Coetzee, he would be the first ever to score a Booker hat trick.

The Booker Prize comes with a winner’s cheque for £50 000 and inevitably leads to a huge jump in sales.

Last year’s prize went to Aravind Adiga for The White Tiger, which has sold more than half a million copies and been translated into 30 languages.

Now in its 41st year, the prize recognises the best new fiction in English, and any writer from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth is eligible. – AFP