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Booker Prize: Blessing or curse?

Razia Iqbal | 21:40 UK time, Tuesday, 14 October 2008

booker_books.jpgAnd the winner is... a first time novelist. Aravind Adiga, only 33 years old and the youngest on the shortlist, although it's his birthday next week. What a great birthday present: £50,000 and one of the most prestigious literary awards going.

The chairman of the judges, Michael Portillo, said of Adiga's book, The White Tiger: "In many ways it was the perfect novel. True to itself throughout, and maintained its tone and the position of its hero as thoroughly villainous."

Mr Portillo said the decision was unanimous. However, when each judge championed their particular novel at the final meeting today, I have been told that all three men in the room cried when a passage from one of the other shortlisted novels was read out.

Only two other writers have won with their first novel: Arundhati Roy with The God of Small Things, and DBC Pierre with Vernon God Little. Roy has not written a novel since, and Pierre's next novel sank without a trace. For all its immediate glory and increase in sales, can winning the Booker with your first novel also be a curse?



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