Friday, September 10, 2010

Shortlist secretly revealed in advance

The day the Booker Prize shortlist was revealed traditionally involved hours of waiting while the judges wrangled and agonized their way to an agreement, but for the last three years the announcement has been surprisingly early. Then last Tuesday there was the faint whiff of rat in the air when Amazon seemed to pre-empt the announcement. Now we know why. Arifa Akbar in The Independent reveals that the judges picked the shortlist a week earlier for the benefit of booksellers. The authors were also informed. Apparently, this has been the case since 2008. This would be fair enough were it not for the potential for a bit of insider-dealing. How many people in the trade knew the shortlist in advance? Did the bookies know about this and were they still taking bets on books that were out of the running?

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