In Brief

Booker Prize nominees: who are the favourites?

Margaret Atwood and Lucy Ellmann among the front-runners for the literary gong

Former winners Margaret Atwood and Sir Salman Rushdie are among the six contenders for this year’s Booker Prize.

The other nominees for the coveted literary award are Lucy Ellmann, Bernardine Evaristo, Chigozie Obioma and Elif Shafak.

Selected from more than 150 entries, the winner will be announced at a ceremony at London's Guildhall this evening. As well as having the honour of their book being named the best of the year, the triumphant novelist will also receive a £50,000 award.

Atwood's novel The Testaments is considered the favourite by the BBC. Set 15 years after her previous hit, The Handmaid's Tale, the dystopian drama is narrated by three female characters. The 79-year-old author previously won the 2000 Booker Prize for The Blind Assassin.

Sir Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte, the story of a travelling salesman who drives across America, “pushes the boundaries of fiction and satire”, says jury chair Peter Florence. The author won the Booker Prize in 1981 and made the shortlist in 1983, 1988 and 1995.

Bernardine Evaristo is also in the running with her fusion fiction story Girl, Woman, Other, telling the interconnected stories of a group of black British women.

Chigozie Obioma’s An Orchestra of Minorities is an African take on The Odyssey, following a Nigerian chicken farmer who travels to Europe.

Elif Shafak is nominated for her novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World, in which she tells the story of a recollections of a sex worker who has been left for dead in a rubbish bin.

Lucy Ellmann’s novel Ducks, Newburyport, is the most unusual contender. The 998-page tome is a stream-of-consciousness monologue that mostly consists of one continuous sentence.

The Guardian’s Alex Preston says “it’s a difficult year to call a winner” but says his money “is on Evaristo”. However, the Daily Mail says that Atwood is the likely winner, with Ellman the other one to watch.

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