If Salman Rushdie wasn’t already kinda sad about being left off this year’s Booker Prize long-list, the chair of judges, Michael Portillo, has guaranteed that he will be now. Also, that Portillo will never be invited to dinner or any exclusive literary parties at the author’s house. Not only did they determine Enchantress wasn’t good enough for the award, the panel came to their conclusion very quickly. No agonizing! No in-fighting! Easy-peasy!
“I can say that the discussions we had about Salman Rushdie, as with all the other books, was a discussion about the book and not about the author. It was about the merits of the book,” he told guardian.co.uk after the press conference at which the shortlist was announced.
“In the opinion of these five people taken together, Salman Rushdie’s was not one of the top six books for us. We didn’t have a huge debate about it.”
Instead, the judges went with six novels that they called intensely readable” and “page-turning": Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger, Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture, Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies, Linda Grant’s The Clothes on Their Backs, Philip Hensher’s The Northern Clemency and Steve Toltz’s A Fraction of the Whole.
One of the commenters on the Guardian story pretty much sums it up: "Thank goodness – now I don’t have to finish the Rushdie." Heh!