Booker bonanza

Excitement mounts ahead of tonight's Man Booker Prize announcement

The winner of the Man Booker Prize is announced in a ceremony at the Guildhall this evening. I blogged last month on the announcement of the shortlist, which is one of the strongest in years. (Here, incidentally, is a link to Michael Sayeau's review of J M Coetzee's Summertime, which ran after the shortlist was disclosed.)

Apparently, there's been heavy betting on tonight's outcome, with William Hill reporting that most of the money has been placed on Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall. No surprise there. Much more intriguing, though, is the late surge of punters' interest in The Glass Room by Simon Mawer, by some distance the least celebrated writer on the list. Graham Sharpe of William Hill says that "over the weekend there was significant support for Simon Mawer, forcing his odds right down from being the complete outsider to become clear second favourite". Do they know something we don't?

While you await the outcome, read this profile of Mawer by Sarah Crown.

Jonathan Derbyshire is Managing Editor of Prospect. He was formerly Culture Editor of the New Statesman.

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Katy Perry just saved the Brits with a parody of Donald Trump and Theresa May

Our sincerest thanks to the pop star for bringing one fleeting moment of edge to a very boring awards show.

Now, your mole cannot claim to be an expert on the cutting edge of culture, but if there’s one thing we can all agree on in 2017, it’s that the Brit Awards are more old hat than my press cap. 

Repeatedly excluding the genres and artists that make British music genuinely innovative, the Brits instead likes to spend its time rewarding such dangerous up-and-coming acts as Robbie Williams. And it’s hosted by Dermot O’Leary.

Which is why the regular audience must have been genuinely baffled to see a hint of political edge entering the ceremony this year. Following an extremely #makeuthink music video released earlier this week, Katy Perry took to the stage to perform her single “Chained to the Rhythm” amongst a sea of suburban houses. Your mole, for one, doesn’t think there are enough model villages at popular award ceremonies these days.

But while Katy sang of “stumbling around like a wasted zombie”, and her house-clad dancers fell off the edge of the stage, two enormous skeleton puppets entered the performance in... familiar outfits.

As our Prime Minister likes to ask, remind you of anyone?

How about now?

Wow. Satire.

The mole would like to extend its sincerest lukewarm thanks to Katy Perry for bringing one fleeting moment of edge to one of the most vanilla, status-quo-preserving awards ceremonies in existence. 

I'm a mole, innit.