With the Man Booker Prize announced tomorrow, more literary-minded punters have been keeping an eye on the odds available on the shortlisted 6 books.
Richard Powers’s “The Overstory” has maintained its position as favourite for the award, listed at 3.5/1 at Ladbrokes and 9/4 at William Hill. Though the novel has been garlanded with praise worldwide, the Booker judges have made a habit of going against expectations. For all the critical acclaim, a Powers win would not be an exciting story. Should he emerge victorious, he’d be the third American in a row to claim the prize; it seems likely that the judges would prefer to go in a different direction.
Time for a female winner?
No woman has won since Eleanor Catton in 2013 and there is a growing feeling that this sequence will change this year.
Daisy Johnson is maintaining her position as second favourite with most bookmakers. Johnson, described by Lauren Groff as a “swaggering monster of fiction”, is only 28 and the youngest writer ever to be shortlisted for the prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the English-speaking world.
Perhaps the most interesting development is the movement of Esi Edugyan to second favourite with Ladbrokes at 4.5/1. The Canadian Edugyan was previously shortlisted for the prize in 2011 for her novel, “Half-Blood Blues”.
Washington Black, her third novel, has also been shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Giller Prize. It was described by the Guardian as “beautiful and beguiling” and tells the story of the eponymous Washington Black, a slave in 19th century Barbados.
The winner will be announced in London tomorrow evening. Whoever it is will receive £50,000 in prize money… and publicity and exposure worth a lot more than that.