Tuesday, October 19, 2004

And the winner is...

As I write, the crowd is gathered in the Royal Horticultural Halls, the [quite classy, but with some rather bizarre square bunches of red roses at the centre of each table] ceremony having been shifted there from the British Museum - where it was held for the past two years - after complaints about the unsatisfactory acoustics.

After the month of viscious and colourful press that followed the Longlist, and the following month of rather subdued satisfaction with what people seem to have admitted was quite a nice Shortlist, the winner of the Man Booker Prize 2004 is...

Allan Hollinghurst for The Line of Beauty.

Which is a surprise (though I did say so, didn't I... Then, I said all of the main three at some stage.)

(By the way, I'd just like to say how much I liked Chris Smith's speech. Hollinghurst is thanking everybody now, including the lumberjack who cut down the tree which made the paper which made book. Oh, no he isn't.)

*Here's a very, very swiftly put-together article from The Times.