Le Carré refuses to join Man Booker race

Many disgruntled authors have expressed displeasure at being overlooked by the Man Booker prize as nominees. Yesterday, the espionage writer John Le Carré surprised the literary establishment by complaining about the opposite.

After judges of the Man Booker International Prize nominated him alongside 12 other novelists, he stated: "I do not compete for literary prizes and have therefore asked for my name to be withdrawn." He believed less-established authors should be given the chance to win.

The judges refused and said they were "disappointed" with his decision. The Independent understands that he will not be considered to win.

David Cornwell, 79, whose penname is John Le Carré, has won a clutch of prizes in his career, including the James Tate Memorial Prize in 1977, for The Honourable Schoolboy.

His agent says he now asks not to be entered into competitions, although he did accept literary prizes ex post facto, where there was no other competition.