2 first-timers among Booker picks

LONDON (AP) -September 9, 2008

Indian novelist Aravind Adiga was nominated Tuesday for his debut, "The White Tiger," which tells the story of a man's dreams of escaping poor village life for success in the big city. Australia's Steve Toltz, another first-time novelist, writes about a father-son relationship in a "A Fraction of the Whole."

Ireland's Sebastian Barry, a finalist with "The Secret Scripture," was previously nominated in 2005 for "A Long Long Way."

The other three authors in the running are Indian writer Amitav Ghosh for "Sea of Poppies," English author Linda Grant for "The Clothes on Their Backs" and England's Philip Hensher for "The Northern Clemency."

The list lacks the star power of previous Booker finalists. Among those passed over this year was Salman Rushdie, who was on the prize's 13-book long-list for the "Enchantress of Florence." In July, Rushdie was named the greatest-ever winner of the literary prize for "Midnight's Children," which took the Booker 1981.

Michael Portillo, who chairs the judging panel, said all six books were "intensely readable."

"These books are in every case both ambitious and approachable," he said.

The winner, who receives $88,700 and a likely boost in sales, will be announced Oct. 14. Eligible novels must be written in English by writers from Britain, Ireland or the Commonwealth of former British colonies.

The award was founded in 1969 and was long known as the Booker Prize. It was renamed when the financial services conglomerate Man Group PLC began sponsoring it five years ago.
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