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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.