March 26, 2010 / 4:12 PM / 10 years ago

Four dead authors on shortlist for lost "Booker"

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Four dead authors have made a shortlist of six writers whose books are being considered for a “lost” Booker Prize that dates back 40 years.

The Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards, was originally given to a book published in the previous year. But since 1971 it has been given to the best novel of the current year, so books published in 1970 were never eligible.

To redress this, organizers of the award — now called the Man Booker Prize — drew up a list of 21 books from 1970 which an expert panel has whittled down to six.

The public will decide the winner by voting on the Man Booker Prize website, with the winner to be announced on May 19.

The Lost Booker Prize was devised by Peter Strauss, the honorary archivist to The Booker Prize Foundation, who realized that no books from 1970 had been considered for the coveted award.

The shortlist is:

Nina Bawden - The Birds on the Trees

J. G. Farrell- Troubles

Shirley Hazzard - The Bay of Noon

Mary Renault - Fire From Heaven

Muriel Spark - The Driver’s Seat

Patrick White - The Vivisector

Three of these authors have previously had success with the Booker Prize. Farrell’s “The Siege of Krishnapur” won in 1973, Spark was shortlisted for “The Public Image” in 1969 and “Loitering with Intent” in 1981, and Bawden shortlisted in 1987 for “Circles of Deceit.”

The award could come too late for four authors on the list. Farrell died in 1979, Renault died in 1983, Spark died in 2006 and White died in 1990.

Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Miral Fahmy

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