Don't Bet on the Booker Prize, Unless You Want to Go Broke

Plus: John Irving gives some new details about his next novel

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Today in news from the world of books: the Man Booker Prize shortlist includes a major snub, John Irving details his political upcoming novel, and a controversial history of the Redgrave family will be published in November.

  • The shortlist for the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction was unveiled Tuesday. The six-novel shortlist includes The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch, The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan, Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman, Snowdrops by A.D. Miller. Barnes previously made the shortlist for Arthur and George in 2005, England, England in 1998 and Flaubert’s Parrot in 1984, and is the odds-on favorite to win this year, according to handicappers at, who have already installed him as a 13-to-8 favorite to take home the prize for the top novel written by a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations. That's no guarantee of success: as The Telegraph notes, Alan Hollinghurst's novel The Stranger's Child was the favorite to win the prize before today's announcement, but didn't make it off the 13-title longlist. The winner will be announced in October. [The Telegraph]
  • In an interview with The Boston Globe, John Irving let some details slip about his upcoming novel In One Person, set for release next summer, calling it "probably my most political novel since [The Cider House Rules]" although he adds that "Only [Cider House] and [A Prayer for Owen Meany]...are by my definition political." According to Irving, In One Person "has a first-person narrator who’s a bisexual man, distrusted by gay men and straight women both. It’s a social-political novel asking for more tolerance of our sexual differences, I suppose." In One Person is the first of two Irving books that will be published by Simon & Schuster. [The Boston Globe]
  • Author Tim Adler's book The House of Redgraves will be published in November, an Aurum Books spokesperson tells The Guardian. Adler's history of the acting family had initially been scheduled for publication in May, but was withdrawn after The Daily Mail ran an excerpt May 7 under the headline "Revealed: The day Vanessa Redgrave found her husband in bed with her father." The Daily Mail published a formal apology for the headline and the excerpt--which made a similar claim--in Saturday's edition. [The Guardian]
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