Booker: 'The readers have spoken'

Earlier today in London it was announced that Salman Rushdie's 1981 novel "Midnight's Children" was the winner of the Best of the Booker Award, a sort of "best of the best" category spinning off from the Man Booker Prize. Although a panel of judges chose the short list of six titles they felt represented the best of the Booker Prize winners (including works by Pat Barker, Peter Carey, JM Coetzee, JG Farrell, and Nadine Gordimer) it was readers who were invited to vote on the winner. "Midnight's Children" took the prize with 36% of the vote. But perhaps the best news for Rushdie – and the book world in general – is the fact that of the 7,800 readers who voted, at least half were under 35.

"Midnight's Children" was awarded the Man Booker Prize in 1981 and then went on to win the only other "best of the Booker" contest in 1993.

From the point of view of the book world, perhaps the best comment on the victory came from a bookseller quoted in today's London TimesOnline. Speaking of Rushdie's win, Jonathan Ruppin, Promotions Manager at Foyles bookshop, said, “[Rushdie is] not to everyone's taste, but from a bookseller's point of view, authors who get books into the news are always welcome.”

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