Maybe this year Beryl will be the bride

`A short, bittersweet novel about a writer who very nearly gets a prize with a short, bittersweet novel'

IN CASE you missed it when it came out, here is the full shortlist for the 1999 Booker Prize. For those who want to get a bet on one of the runners, we also provide a brief description of each, the current odds, and a guide to how they are expected to run on the great day itself.

The Great Irish Novel (Vol 1), by Roddy Doyle.

Roddy Doyle's great Irish novel will go through the 20th century year by year, so this first volume covers events in 1901 as seen by the hero, Henry. It is thought that the Booker judges will see how he does up to and including Irish independence before giving him the big prize. 100/1 against.

Winning Is Not The Only Fruit, by Beryl Bainbridge.

A short, bittersweet novel about a writer who very nearly gets a prize with a short, bittersweet novel, but is pipped at the post by someone with an unpronounceable name. This is plainly autobiographical, as last year Beryl very nearly won with her novel Boy George, and so many people thought she ought to have won that she is said to have done better than the winner, whose name nobody can now remember. Bainbridge is said to be unhappy at the thought of winning this year and would prefer to be bridesmaid again, as there seems to be more money in it. 10/1.

I Will Do My Best To Serve This Constituency, And Failing That To Use It As A Springboard To The Tory Leadership, by Michael Portillo.

The terse, tense tale of a man who fell from near-greatness and climbed back up the greasy pole of politics, leaving some nasty stains on his overalls. Most of the action takes place in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, on candidate's selection night, when the hero is questioned closely by the Tory board on why he hasn't brought a wife along.

"May I remind you that your previous sitting member, Mr Clark, brought a wife along to this meeting," replies the hero, "and that didn't exactly guarantee good behaviour, did it?"

Typically tough dialogue. TV rights already bought. Could be a goer. 15/1.

Balti Restaurant Du Lac, by Anita Desai-Brookner.

Curious little novel about an elderly, loveless British spinster who is adopted by a frantically extended Indian family running a busy restaurant. She causes a flutter by introducing new techniques of napkin-folding. Takes Anglo-Indian writing a step beyond most efforts in the genre. Comes with some interesting recipes. Good outsider. 25/1.

Paddy Doyle, Ho Hum, by Colm Toibin.

Somebody once said the Irish are the Jews of Europe. No, hold on, it was the blacks of Europe. Or was it the cockneys of Europe? Anyway, there hasn't been an Irish winner for a while, not by a writer with a proper Irish name, anyway, so this is worth a bet as a prosperous outsider. Hang on, maybe the Irish are the Anglo-Indians of Europe? In that case, it's definitely worth a flutter. 50/1

Or Is It The Scots Who Are The Irish Of The United Kingdom? by Andrew O'Hagen.

An ambitious attempt to win back the Booker for Scotland. Their lone previous success was by James Kelman, with a book which was so full of four-letter words that many people reckon he should have got the Perrier Award instead. What is ambitious about this bookis that not many Scottish authors have a Dutch name with an Irish prefix. Still, at least "Andrew" is Scottish.5/1

Cumberland, Dumberland, by Melvyn Bragg.

An ambitious attempt to write a sophisticated modern novel about such contemporary figures as Joan Collins, Paul Merton, Michael Flatley, Ringo Starr and Bjork, who are woven into a narrative that takes them from the South Bank of the Thames across to the other side for lunch and back again, then off to Cumbria for the weekend. Looming over this cosmopolitan minestrone is the larger question: where are the jokes? Still, Melvyn Bragg has never won the Booker. The Booker has never been won by someone who has won it before. Draw your own conclusions. 100/1.

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea