THE winner of the Booker Prize 2019 is due to be announced later today.
Six people are in contention to pick up the prestigious literary award with Margaret Atwood leading the field with her follow up to The Handmaid’s Tale.
How much is the prize money and what time is the announcement?
The lavish ceremony takes place at London’s Guildhall tonight, October 14, with TV coverage from the BBC starting at 9.30pm.
The winner will walk off with £50,000 in prize money as well as the famed award.
Along with Margaret Atwood, the other nominees are Lucy Ellmann, Bernardine Evaristo, Chigozie Obioma, Sir Salman Rushdie and Elif Shafak.
Atwood’s book The Testaments, is currently favourite with the bookies and she made the shortlist for The Handmaid’s Tale in 1986.
She previously won the award in 2000 for The Blind Assassin.
Atwood, 79, was also shortlisted for the prize in 1989, 1996 and 2003.
When The Testaments was published in September it sold more than 100,000 copies in the UK in its first week, making it the fastest-selling hardback for four years.
The Handmaid’s Tale was set in the totalitarian state of Gilead, where women are subjugated and enslaved in an oppressive patriarchal society and The Testaments sets off where the first book ended.
The Handmaid’s Tale was made into a film starring Natasha Richardson in 1990.
The Chair of the Booker judges Peter Florence said the book was “a savage and beautiful novel that speaks to us today with conviction and power”.
Bookies make Atwood the clear favourite with odds of 2/1.
The only US writer on this year’s shortlist.
The 62-year-old, was originally born in Illinois, but now lives in Edinburgh.
Her novel Ducks, Newburyport is a sizeable 998 pages and is a stream-of-consciousness that is mostly just one long sentence.
The book focuses on the thoughts of an Ohio housewife who reflects on her past and family as well as her country.
Judge Joanna MacGregor described the book as “a genre-defying novel, a torrent on modern life [and] a hymn to loss and grief”.
Bookies give her odds of 6/1.
Anglo-Nigerian author Evaristo, 60, made the shortlist with her eighth book Girl, Woman, Other.
Judge Xiaolu Guo called it “an impressive, fierce novel… about modern Britain and womanhood” that “deserves to be read aloud”.
The story follows the lives of 12 characters, most of whom are black, British and female..
Evaristo said she wanted to “explore the hidden narratives of the African diaspora” and “subvert expectations and assumptions”.
Evaristo is on odds of 5/1.
The Nigerian writer is also an assistant professor of literature and creative writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The 33-year-old also made the shortlist in 2015 for his debut novel The Fishermen.
An Orchestra of Minorities follows the life of a young Nigerian chicken farmer whose love for a woman drives him to become an African migrant in Europe.
Judge Afua Hirsch said it was “a book that wrenches the heart”.
Bookies are offering odds of 7/2.
Shafak is a Turkish-British novelist, academic and women’s rights activist.
The 47-year-old has lived in London for ten years and writes in both Turkish and English.
Her novel 10 Minute 38 Seconds in this Strange World is set in Istanbul and follows the recollections of a prostitute Tequila Leila who had been left for dead in a rubbish bin.
Judge Liz Calder called the book “a work of fearless imagination”.
Shafak was tried and acquitted in 2006 for “insulting Turkishness” in one of her books and was put under investigation by the Turkish authorities again earlier this year.
Bookies put her at 6.1.
Rushdie, 72, is no stranger to the Booker Prize having been on the shortlist in 1983, 1988 and 1995.
He won in 1981 for Midnight’s Children.
That book was named “Booker of the Bookers” in 1993 and then “Best of the Booker” in 2008.
Taking his cue from Miguel de Cervantes’ classic satire Don Quixote, Rushdie’s Quichotte follows an ageing travelling salesman who drives across the US to prove he is worthy of a TV star’s hand.
most read in news
Florence described Rushdie’s 14th novel as “pushing the boundaries of fiction and satire”.
The controversial author, who now lives in New York, hit the headlines in 1988 for The Satanic Verses with Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issuing a fatwa on the author and sparking outrage from Muslims.
Despite his reputation Rushdie is currently an outsider at 12/1.