Naipaul, Rushdie vying for one-off Golden Booker Prize

Leading Indian-origin authors like VS Naipaul and Salman Rushdie are in the run for a one-off special Golden Man Booker Prize to mark the literary awards 50th anniversary this year.

The new award, launched in London today, will involve five judges whittling down titles from the past five decades which will then be put forward for a public vote to come up with an overall winner.

The Indian-origin authors in the running include Naipaul for his 1971 winner In a Free State; Rushdie for Midnights Children (1981); Arundhati Roy for The God of Small Things (1997); Kiran Desai for The Inheritance of Loss (2006); and Aravind Adiga for The White Tiger (2008).

Each judge has been assigned a decade from which they will select one former Booker Prize winning author to create a Golden Five shortlist, to be unveiled at Hay Literary Festival in May.

The five books will then be put to a month-long public vote from May 26 to June 25 on the Man Booker Prize website to decide the overall winner, which will be announced at the "Man Booker 50" Festival on July 8.

Rushdie is considered a frontrunner after he won a similar public vote for the Best of Booker Award in 2008 to mark the literary awards 40th anniversary.

The very best fiction endures and resonates with readers long after it is written. Im fascinated to see what our panel of excellent judges including writers and poets, broadcasters and editors and the readers of today make of the winners of the past, as they revisit the rich Man Booker library, said Baroness Helena Kennedy, Chair of the Booker Prize Foundation.

The judges for the Golden Booker Prize include writer and editorRobertMcCrum (1970s); poetLemnSissay(1980s); novelistKamilaShamsie(1990s); broadcaster and novelistSimon Mayo (2000s); and poetHollieMcNish(2010s).

The Golden Man Booker has 51 past winners in contention including literary heavy-weights like Iris Murdoch, Nadine Gordimer, J.M. Coetzee and Margaret Atwood, who are all still in print. They will be back under the spotlight, to discover which of them has stood the test of time, remaining relevant to readers today, Man Booker said in a statement.

The prize plays a meaningful role in recognising and supporting literary excellence that we are honoured to support, said Luke Ellis, CEO of Man Group.

The Man Booker 50 Festival will run from July 6 to 8 across Southbank Centres 17-acre site on the banks of the river Thames in London.

Events will range from interviews and conversations between Man Booker winning and shortlisted authors, to debates and masterclasses.

The 50th anniversary will also be amplified globally with Man Booker author events at international literary festivals across the world throughout the year. The Man Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969 and has been sponsored by Man Group since 2002. The title Booker Prize therefore applies to prize years 1969-2001, before Man Groups sponsorship began, and since 2002 it has been called the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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