Hot off the Press:

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction announced today (Thursday 21 February) a one-off award – The Best of the Booker – to celebrate the prestigious literary prize’s 40th anniversary. The Best of the Booker will honour the best overall novel to have won the prize since it was first awarded on 22 April 1969.

…  visit Debate and let us know who you think should make the Best of the Booker shortlist.

PossessionWhat are your picks? Check our list of previous winners.

The ones that stick in my memory are ones that have all been made into rather fine movies: Heat and dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the 1975 winner which later was made into a movie starring the gorgeous Greta Scacchi, the 1989/1990 double whammy of Remains of the day by Kazuo Ishiguro and Possession by A.S. Byatt, and 1992 winner The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. 2000 winner  The blind assassin by Margaret Atwood is an astonishing read. But if forced to pick “the best of the Booker” I’m plumping for Possession by A.S. Byatt. It combines the scope and splendour of the best Victorian novels with modern wit. It’s big, juicy and readable.More information from the press release:

This is the second time that a celebratory award has been created by the prize. In 1993 – the 25th anniversary – Salman Rushdie won the Booker of Bookers with the 1981 winning novel Midnight’s Children following the decision by a judging panel which included Malcolm Bradbury, David Holloway and WL Webb.

The Best of the Booker will, for the first time, be inviting the public to help decide on which novel deserves to take this prestigious one-off award.

Bookmakers William Hill has listed Yann Martel’s Life of Pi as favourite to win the Best of the Booker at odds of 4/1. Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children runs a close second at 5/1 and Ondaatje’s English Patient just behind that at 7/1. Ladbrokes has Salman Rushdie in the lead with Midnight’s Children at 4/1, Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient at 6/1 and in joint third Barry Unsworth’s Sacred Hunger and Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin at 7/1.