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Mantel favourite for Booker among gamblers

3rd August 2009

Author Hilary Mantel has received significant backing to walk away with the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

The British writer's Wolf Hall has seen a high proportion of bets placed with bookmaker William Hill ahead of the final decision.

Commenting on the precedence of bets taken for Ms Mantel's work, a spokesperson for the bookmakers said: 'It's almost like an unspoken psychic rumour has gone round that this will be Hilary Mantel's year.'

Wolf Hall was among the 13 titles named on this year's Man Booker longlist announced last week.

The list also includes former Man Booker winner J M Coetzee for his book Summertime and A S Byatt for The Children's Book.

A total of 132 books were considered for this year's longlist, which led chair of judges James Naughtie to claim he had the feeling 'we were part of an exceptional year'.

'This is an eclectic list, taking us from the court of Henry VIII to the Hollywood jungle, with stops along the way in a nineteenth century Essex asylum, an African warzone and a futuristic Brazilian city,' he added.

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