“The reformed drug addict and gambler admitted to selling his best friend’s home and pocketing the proceeds as well as working up debts of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a scheme to find Montezuma’s gold in Mexico.” Peter Finlay, aka DBC Pierre, does his bit to provide an alternative to the cult of the anodyne, photogenic, rent-a-quote author. He’s not the bookmakers’ favourite, though: as we gear up for the Booker announcement, the odds favour Monica Ali. Speaking personally, the Babu’s putting his money on Peter Carey. Yeah, yeah, I know he’s not in the running this year but 1) I’m having more fun reading his book than I did with Ali, Atwood and company and 2) I owe the man; the last couple of times I put hard cash down on his name, he won the Booker and won me a bundle. You’ve got to support your people, you know, through the lean, Bookerless years…

Meanwhile, D J Taylor on what it’s like to be a Booker judge. Helpful tip: always point out that it was the other guy who rejected the new novel by the man who became this year’s Nobel laureate, not you.

“The range and quality of the talent on offer was matched by the breathtaking level of accomplishment on display; it would be like having Saul Bellow, Toni Morrison, John Updike, Philip Roth, Edward Albee, and Don de Lillo all addressing a seminar on American literature in New Delhi.” Shashi Tharoor on the Great Indian Writers’ Gabfest in Manhattan.





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