Debut Novelists Steve Toltz and Aravind Adiga Among Finalists for Booker Prize

by Staff

The judges of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction announced on Tuesday the six finalists for this year’s award. The 2008 shortlist includes authors hailing from India, Britain, Ireland, and Australia, two of whom are debut novelists.

The finalists are:
The White Tiger (Atlantic) by Aravind Adiga
The Secret Scripture (Faber) by Sebastian Barry
Sea of Poppies (John Murray) by Amitav Ghosh
The Clothes on Their Backs (Virago) by Linda Grant
The Northern Clemency (Fourth Estate) by Philip Hensher
A Fraction of the Whole (Hamish Hamilton) by Steve Toltz

“These novels are intensely readable, each of them an extraordinary example of imagination and narrative,” Michael Portillo, chair of the judging panel, said in a press release. “These fine page-turning stories nonetheless raise highly thought-provoking ideas and issues. These books are in every case both ambitious and approachable."

A notable omission from the shortlist was Salman Rushdie, who received the Best of the Booker Award in July for Midnight's Children (Jonathan Cape, 1981). His most recent novel, The Enchantress of Florence (Jonathan Cape), did not advance from this year’s longlist into the final six.

The winner of the Man Booker Prize, given annually to a writer from the British Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland to honor the best novel published in the current year, will be announced on October 14. The winner will receive 50,000 pounds (approximately $87,752) and all six finalists will be given a specially designed edition of their book.