LONDON (Reuters Life!) - British author Tom McCarthy’s novel “C” is the overwhelming favorite to win the coveted Man Booker Prize when the literary award is handed out in London on Tuesday.
Bookmakers have reported heavy betting on the novel in the run-up to the prize, which can catapult the winning author to literary prominence and boost books sales by hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide.
“C,” which follows the short life of Serge Carrefax through the upheavals of early 20th century Europe, is one of six novels nominated for the annual prize, which comes with a check for 50,000 pounds ($80,000).
Also shortlisted for the prize are “Parrot and Olivier in America” by Australia’s Peter Carey -- bidding to become the first author to win the Booker three times -- and “Room” by Irish-born Emma Donoghue.
Carey won the 2001 Booker for “True History of the Kelly Gang” and was successful in 1988 with “Oscar and Lucinda.” He is one of just two authors to have won twice, the other being South African J.M. Coetzee.
South Africa’s Damon Galgut (“In a Strange Room”) and Britons Howard Jacobson (“The Finkler Question”) and Andrea Levy (“The Long Song”) round off the list of nominees for this year’s Booker.
Salman Rushdie, who won for 1981’s “Midnight’s Children,” underlined the importance of winning the Booker Prize in a recent interview.
“It made a big difference, no question,” Rushdie told Reuters last week. “In England the paperback of ‘Midnight’s Children’ has sold well over a million copies, and it wouldn’t have done that (without the Booker). It’s very beneficial.”
“Midnight’s Children” also went on to claim the “Best of the Booker” title that was decided by a popular vote in 2008.
The 2009 prize was awarded to Hilary Mantel for historical novel “Wolf Hall,” which depicted Henry VIII’s court through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell.
Past winners of the competition, which aims to reward the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or Ireland, include V.S. Naipaul and William Golding.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte