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Hilary Mantel and Will Self pull ahead in Man Booker Prize race

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Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

(Read caption) Writers Hilary Mantel (l.), author of 'Bring Up the Bodies,' and Will Self (r.), author of 'Umbrella,' are considered the frontrunners for the Man Booker Prize.

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The six-author contest for the prestigious Man Booker Prize for fiction, awarded Tuesday night in London, is narrowing down to a two-author horse-race.

First-time nominee journalist Will Self and 2009 winner author Hilary Mantel are favored to win the coveted prize, one of English literature’s most respected. (Any doubts? Just check the myriad betting contests.)

Self is nominated for “Umbrella,” “a modernist tale spanning a century and following Audrey Death, a woman who falls into a coma at the end of World War One only to be awoken decades later when Dr. Zack Busner discovers a cure,” according to Reuters.

The book, which has no chapters and few paragraph breaks, has been alternately described as “sprawling,” “draining,” and “moving.”

Mantel is nominated for “Bring Up the Bodies,” a sequel to “Wolf Hall,” which won the Booker Prize in 2009. “Bring Up the Bodies” picks up where “Wolf Hall” left off, following the life of Thomas Cromwell in the backdrop of King Henry VIII’s court in 1535 as the king grows disenchanted with his second queen and Anne Boleyn prepares to stand trial.


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