The winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize will be announced in London next Tuesday. This was the first year that books by writers from all nations have been permitted to enter the prestigious award, leading to speculation that the field would be dominated by American authors. Instead, it looks unlikely that the prize will be awarded outside the Commonwealth. If the latest odds from bookmaker William Hill are accurate, either Australia’s Richard Flanagan or Calcutta-born Neel Mukherjee will be taking home the £50,000 prize.
When the thirteen book longlist was announced in July, Mukherjee’s The Lives of Others immediately become a hot favourite among commentators and bookmakers alike. David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks was also popular among many pundits but the English authors’ sixth novel failed to make the shortlist. Flanagan’s The Narrow Road To The Deep North has been top seller is his home country but the book missed out on the Miles Franklin Award, the country’s most prestigious literary prize.
The Man Booker Prize 2014 Bookmakers’ Odds
A total of 154 books were considered by the Man Booker Prize judges this year, 145 of which were submitted by publishers with a further 9 called in by the judges. William Hill’s odds for the six novels still in contention are:
- Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North – 3.50
- Neel Mukherjee, The Lives of Others – 3.50
- Ali Smith, How to be Both – 4.33
- Howard Jacobson, J – 4.50
- Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – 6.50
- Joshua Ferris, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour – 9.00
Aside from a winner’s cheque and the prestige, the real prize for the winner of the Booker is the almost certain boost in sales. The conversation from media attention to actual copies sold of course varies from year to year and title to title, but a significant boost is almost certainly guaranteed. The Luminaries by New Zealand Eleanor Catton, winner of the 2013 prize, has sold over 300,000 copies in the UK and almost 500,000 worldwide.