As has been widely reported, the Whitbread Prize shortlist has been announced. The finalists are Nick Hornby, for A Long Way Down; Salman Rushdie for Shalimar the Clown; Ali Smith for The Accidental; and Christopher Wilson for The Ballad of Lee Cotton.
The Guardian seems shocked that Salman Rushdie made the cut. I suppose it’s become fashionable to knock him, but I really enjoyed Shalimar the Clown. With the exception of one or two missteps towards the end, I thought it was a far better book than much of what I’ve read this year.
By the way, the Whitbread also has a first novel category. The finalists for that are Tash Aw for The Harmony Silk Factory; Diana Evans for 26a; Peter Hobbs for The Short Day Dying; and Rachel Zadok for Gem Squash Tokoloshe.