Booker Prize stresses 2019 winner remains undecided after bookshop error

Booker Prize stresses 2019 winner remains undecided after bookshop error

The Booker Prize has reassured readers the £50,000 literary award has “not yet been decided” – after a bookshop mistakenly branded copies of Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments with a “winner” sticker.

UCL lecturer Matt Sperling, author of Astroturf (Riverrun), spotted the mistake in a Booker Prize display and posted a now-deleted picture on Twitter. It is not known which bookshop made the error.  Sperling captioned the post: “Don’t think you were supposed to use those stickers yet, lads...”

The book was displayed next to Ducks, Newburyport (Galley Beggar) by Lucy Ellman, which was displayed with a “shortlisted" sticker. William Hill bookmakers have The Testaments at 2/1 to win, behind Ellman at 7/4, according to the Guardian.

Organisers of the Booker Prize said in a statement the 2019 winner will not be selected until mid-October. “We can confirm that the winner of the 2019 Booker Prize has not yet been decided, and will not be decided until the judges meet on 14 October 2019,” the statement read. “At shortlist stage for The Booker Prize, display packs including shortlist sticker sheets and a winner sticker sheet are provided to booksellers and libraries across the UK. It seems that in this case a winner rather than shortlist sticker has been mistakenly applied to The Testaments by Margaret Atwood."

The Booker Prize ceremony will take place on 14th October with The Testaments and Ducks, Newburyport facing competiton from Quichotte (Jonathan Cape) by former winner Salman RushdieElif Shafak's 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking), Bernardine Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton) and An Orchestra of Minorities (Little Brown) by Chigozie Obioma. The shortlist was announced earlier this month.