World Cup of Books final draws near

World Cup of Books final draws near

Titles including Neil Gaiman's Good Omens (Transworld) and JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Bloomsbury) are battling it out in Richard Osman and Waterstones' "World Cup of Books" competition to be named "best novel of our time".

The competition has so far seen in a response of over 300,000 votes in its first stages. The second-round groups took place on Tuesday (26th September) and the advance to quarter finals on Wednesday (27th September). The champion, declared "best novel of all time", will be revealed tonight, Thursday (28th September), at 10pm. 

The final 32 contenders, announced on Sunday (24th September), included Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and The Amber Spyglass as well as cult classics The Wasp Factory, Catch 22 and The Catcher in the Rye and canonical classics from Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens and George Eliot. Jane Eyre and Good Omens have knocked out Catch 22 and Beloved, while Lord of the Rings and Wuthering Heights toppled Little Women and Stephen King’s It. 

Betfair is now taking bets on the outright winner of the World Cup, with all losing stakes being donated to The Book Trust charity. Favourites as it stands are To Kill A Mockingbird (EVS), The Lord of the Rings (5/2) and The Catcher in the Rye (12-1).

Writer and BBC One quiz show presenter Osman, who launched the competition, predicted "it will be carnage", adding: "In the end 92% of people will be furious about the winner…hopefully." Book-lovers can get involved by following the @Waterstones Twitter feed.

Giving readers the chance to vote on other "controversial, and funniest arguments of our time", Osman publishes The World Cup of Everything with Coronet on 5th October.