Poet Motion to chair 2010 Booker Prize judges

Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:22am EST
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Former poet laureate Andrew Motion will chair the 2010 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, one of the world's top literary awards, organizers said on Wednesday.

The 57-year-old and his panel will have to read over 100 novels before they decide on the winner of the award, which honors English-language works by authors from the Commonwealth and Ireland.

The pool of submitted works is narrowed down to the longlist, or "Booker's Dozen" which is announced in late July, the shortlist of six contenders is revealed in September with the winner decided on October 12.

"It's an honor to be asked to chair the Man Booker Prize, which has consistently been a focus for the best fiction of recent years," Motion said in a statement.

"It's an exciting challenge too -- a lot of difficult decisions lie ahead. I greatly look forward to a year of reading voraciously."

This year's winner was Hilary Mantel for "Wolf Hall," her 650-page fictional account of the life of Thomas Cromwell and his relationship with King Henry VIII.

The prize is worth 50,000 pounds ($84,000), but the exposure the award brings also boost sales of the winning book by tens of thousands of copies.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison)