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Dame Stella Rimington hits back at 'pathetic' critics

11th October 2011

Dame Stella Rimington, chair of the judging panel for the 2011 Man Booker Prize, has hit back at those who have criticised this year's shortlist.

The former MI5 chief said literary critics who have called into question her suitability to chair the panel are misguided, as this year's shortlist represents perhaps the most populist line-up in Booker shortlist history.

In an interview with the Guardian, Rimington said she received a bombardment of hate mail after Alan Hollinghurst's The Stranger's Child was omitted from the shortlist, despite being the bookmakers' favourite when the longlist was unveiled.

However, she labelled these critics 'pathetic' for believing only those whose careers are entrenched in literature are capable of sitting on the judging panel.

'People weirder than me have chaired the Booker. The aim of the Booker was to appeal to the average, intelligent reader and we [the judges] are average, intelligent readers,' Rimington explained.

She pointed to the fact that this year's Man Booker Prize shortlist has seen the biggest ever sales spike as evidence that the general public agrees with the decisions made by the panel.

The winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize will be announced next Tuesday (October 18th).

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