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The prize is right

With the collapse of price-fixing for books, British publishers need the Booker Prize more than ever. Paul Bilic and Robert Winder compare it to France's loftier Prix Goncourt

By Robert Winder   November 1995

The Booker prize dinner at London’s Guildhall is the flashiest night in town for the UK’s literati, a televised nosh-up which claims to identify the best novel of the year. Meanwhile it gives the nation the entirely false impression that writers are people who stand around in dinner jackets sipping champagne. The Booker is corporate entertainment writ large: even the after-dinner chocolates carry the Booker logo. Lucky novelists blink in the limelight. Back in the studio a ruthless gang of critics is assembled to trash the lot of them. By tradition, someone asks the winner what he or she will…

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