Portillo to chair Booker panel

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The Independent Culture

Politician turned broadcaster Michael Portillo is to chair this year's Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli, Ottakar's bookshops founder James Heneage, novelist Louise Doughty and literary critic Alex Clark make up the judging panel.

The prize celebrates its 40th anniversary next year.

The longlist will be unveiled in August, followed by the shortlist of six books in September.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony on October 14.

Last year's winner, The Gathering by Anne Enright, has gone on to sell over 196.000 copies in the UK alone.

It topped the best-seller lists in Ireland and has now been sold to publishers for translation in 31 countries.

Portillo is a TV regular, appearing on BBC1 politics show This Week and presenting documentaries on subjects including Horatio Nelson and the hyacinth macaw. He previously judged the Whitbread book prize.