Confounding all expectations, the Booker judges leave Ian McEwan off the shortlist but Zadie Smith, who does win a coveted place, vents some spleen about an England populated by “aspirational arseholes” in an American magazine. Penguin later issues a statement in which Smith professes her deep love for her home country.
The Man Booker international prize announces an inaugral shortlist of literary big-hitters, including Saul Bellow, Doris Lessing and Gunter Grass. The news from the libraries is that Jacqueline Wilson is, once again, the most borrowed author, and there’s further good news for the Tracy Beaker author: her publisher, Random House, announce that they have sold 20m of her titles. Finally, the prize for oddity of the month goes to the story that Hemingway’s former neighbours want to buy the house in which he shot himself in order to move it down the road.