We’re just shy of one week out from the announcement of the UK’s biggest book prize: the Booker. So it’s time to place your bets on who will win the £50,000, a massive spike in book sales, and lifelong bragging rights. (A different question, no doubt, than who should win.) If you need a tip, follow the money, and ask the bookies (they were at least close last year).
For the record: all things being equal, there is a baseline 50% chance of the Booker going to somebody named Paul on Sunday, but given the below odds, in which each Paul is more probable than the next, that number rises to . . . something I cannot calculate because I am an editor at a literary website who put all of my eggs in one basket long ago. But, higher. I think.
Here are the current betting odds, according to OLBG:
Paul Lynch, Prophet Song — 5/2 (probability 28.6%)
Paul Harding, This Other Eden — 3/1 (probability 25.0%)
Paul Murray, The Bee Sting— 7/2 (probability 22.2%)
Jonathan Escoffery, If I Survive You — 5/1 (probability 16.7%)
Sarah Bernstein, Study for Obedience — 11/2 (probability 15.4%)
Chetna Maroo, Western Lane — 13/2 (probability 13.3%)
This year’s judges are novelist Esi Edugyan (chair); actor, writer and director Adjoa Andoh; poet, lecturer, editor and critic Mary Jean Chan; Professor James Shapiro; and actor and writer Robert Webb. The winner of the £50,000 prize will be announced November 26, 2023.