The short list has been announced and it is the usual mixture of old hands and debut writers. I find it harder this year to pick the winner.
The huge, nearly 900 pages of fairly closely packed prose, new novel from Paul Auster, 4 3 2 1, [Faber & Faber] must stand a very good chance if the judges read it with close attention for the third time. Four versions of a life; fascinating. The outsider could be Elmet by Fiona Mozley [JM Originals] since we all like the scenario of a debut novelist carrying off the prize. Serious money should be on Autumn by Ali Smith [Hamish Hamilton], an inventive masterpiece with never a dull paragraph. We shall see!