BY PETER STOTHARD
Every day the Durrants company sends the Man Booker judges the latest advice, speculation and comment on our work from the pages of the press.
For those of us with long newspaper memories this is still a strange arrival. The name Durrants means to me those old library envelopes in which their cuttings service used to be kept last century, the cuttings that were prey to chaos and carelessness in every newspaper office but which were still the nearest thing to permanence that most of our articles ever had.
Now, of course, Durrants is all electronic, a line of blue www-type in place of the yellowing print. But by Durrants we Man Bookerists still get to know how we are seen — from Bombay to Bournemouth — and which of our long list is judged the most worthy or likely to win the prize in October.
Alongside my distinguished and industrious colleagues I have been living with this decision all year. We now have a long list of twelve from an original cast of 145 novels. And in a few weeks we will have a short list of six.
But shhh! Say it quietly. For the past few days the Chair of the Man Booker judges has been off the job. Guiltily (for with our long dozen to reread and reread by the end of the month I ought not to be straying) I have been reading The Winter’s Tale instead.