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Barnes, Ishiguro, Smith on Booker Prize shortlist

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LONDON, Sept 8 (AFP) - The six books shortlisted to win the prestigious Booker Prize were announced Thursday, with Julian Barnes, Kazuo Ishiguro and Zadie Smith making the cut.

But former winners Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and JM Coetzee were left out of the running for the 2005 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Barnes, the current favourite to scoop the annual award, made the shortlist with his novel "Arthur and George".

Culled from a longlist of 17, it was third time lucky for Smith and her novel "On Beauty". Her two previous books, "White Teeth" and "Autograph Man", failed to progress beyond the longlist.

Of the former winners, only 1989 winner Ishiguro was shortlisted this time for "Never Let Me Go".

Rushdie's novel "Shalimar the Clown", about a Kashmiri boy who becomes an Islamic terrorist, McEwan's "Saturday" or Coetzee's "Slow Man" all missed the cut.

"The Accidental" by Ali Smith, John Banville's "The Sea" and "A Long Long Way" by Sebastian Barry were the other novels left the running.

Chair of the judges John Sutherland said the longlist was "extraordinarily strong" and some good books had narrowly missed the cut.

"The strength of the year's competition can be measured by the fact that three good books by previous Man Booker winners were finally not selected, he said.

The judges felt choosing the shortlist was unusually difficult this year and thought there was sufficient quality for two distinguished lists.

"This shortlist, we believe, witnesses to the remarkable quality of the current state of fiction. We look forward to the final round."

The three debut novelists Tash Aw, Marina Lewycka and Harry Thompson also failed to make the cut.

The prize is awarded every October for the best work of fiction by a British, Irish or Commonwealth author.

The prize winner receives 50,000 pounds (72,500 euros, 90,000 dollars) and five other shortlisted authors get 2,500 pounds plus an almost guaranteed worldwide readership and an upsurge in book sales.

The prize is in its 37th year and the judges are selected from the country's top critics, writers and academics.

The winner will be announced at a London ceremony on October 10.

Alan Hollinghurst won last year with "The Line of Beauty".

Booker Prize shortlist:

Zadie Smith - On Beauty

Ali Smith - The Accidental

John Banville - The Sea

Julian Barnes - Arthur and George

Sebastian Barry - A Long Long Way

Kazuo Ishiguro - Never Let Me Go

Other books on the longlist:

Tash Aw - The Harmony Silk Factory

JM Coetzee - Slow Man

Rachel Cusk - In the Fold

Dan Jacobson - All For Love

Marina Lewycka - A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

Hilary Mantel - Beyond Black

Ian McEwan - Saturday

James Meek - The People's Act of Love

Salman Rushdie - Shalimar the Clown

Harry Thompson - This Thing of Darkness

William Wall - This Is The Country



COPYRIGHT 2005 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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