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The Booker shortlist: failing to write the present

By Tom Chatfield  

A golden age for modern fiction: the 1520s

A strong female trio dominate the Booker prize shortlist this year—Mantel, Waters and Byatt—with Coetzee competing for a record third win. But what’s perhaps most striking about the list is its preference for history over the present: the six books on it are variously set during the late Victorian era, the 1970s, 1840, the 1520s, the 1930s, and 1947.

What’s wrong with the present? As much as anything, the problem…

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