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Rival to Man Booker Prize to be launched

13th October 2011

A rival award to the Man Booker Prize is set to be launched, following criticism of the quality of this year's shortlist, with a number of literary figures already expressing their support.

After complaints from a number of critics and industry figures following the unveiling of this year's shortlist, publishing giants and agents have come together to form a new award, which will simply be known as the Literature Prize.

The award will help to 'establish a clear and uncompromising standard of excellence', according to Andrew Kidd from Aitken Alexander, who is acting as the spokesman for the group.

It has already received the backing of many former Man Booker Prize winners and nominees, including twice-shortlisted David Mitchell, who said recent Booker shortlists have 'emphasised accessibility over artistry'.

'Anglophone culture needs an arena where the adjective "challenging" isn't a dirty word and I'm supporting the Literature Prize because it promises to create such an arena,' he added.

Other authors supporting the new prize include 2005 Booker winner John Banville, 1995 victor Pat Barker and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time author Mark Haddon.

A statement by the new award's advisory board said the prize will offer readers a selection of novels that are 'unsurpassed in their quality and ambition'.

'For many years, this brief was fulfilled by the Booker Prize, but we believe the public deserves a prize whose sole aim is to bring to our attention and to celebrate the very best novels published in our time,' the statement read.

The board added that more details about the Literature Prize, its judging criteria and entry requirements will be revealed in the coming weeks. 

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