August 14, 2006

Mitchell favorite to land Booker literary prize

LONDON (Reuters) - British author David Mitchell was
installed as 5-1 favorite on Monday to win the Booker prize,
one of the literary world's most prestigious awards.

The author of "Black Swan Green," a critically acclaimed
rites of passage novel about a 13-year-old boy, headed a
longlist of 19 novels for the hotly contested prize.

"Top of the Booker Pops is David Mitchell. He thoroughly
deserves to win it after being robbed with 'Cloud Atlas' two
years ago by Alan Hollinghurst's 'Line of Beauty'," said Graham
Sharpe, spokesman for bookmakers William Hill.

Second favorite for this year's prize is Australian author
Peter Carey, who won the Booker in 1988 and 2001. He is being
considered for his latest novel "Theft: A Love Story."

"The first lady in our list is Sarah Waters at 7-1. Barry
Unsworth, who is also a former winner, is 8-1," Sharpe told

Chair of the judges Hermione Lee said: "It's a list in
which famous established novelists rub shoulders with little
known newcomers. We hope that people will leap at it for their
late summer reading and make up their own shortlist."

The prize, founded in 1969, rewards the best book of the
year from British, Irish and Commonwealth writers and
guarantees the winner instant literary fame and a place in
bestseller lists around the world.

The shortlist for the prize, sponsored by the futures
brokers Man Group plc, is published on September 14 and the
winner announced on October 10.