Letter: Booker judges who chose Swift haven't changed their minds

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The Independent Online
As Judges of the 1996 Booker Prize, our memories of the final judges meeting differ from A N Wilson's ("The Sound and the Fury", 16 March). We are surprised, in particular, by his assertion that Margaret Atwood was Graham Swift's "only rival" for the prize at any stage in the meeting. All of the books on the shortlist had their strong admirers, but A N Wilson must surely remember that it was Seamus Deane's novel Reading in the Dark which came up most often in our final discussions, and which eventually lost out to Last Orders on a 3-2 vote. Choosing a winner by majority vote is normal practice among Booker panels, and the three judges who voted for Graham Swift stand by their decision.

For authors' sakes, the process by which the Booker panel reaches its verdict is meant to be private. We write simply to correct inaccurate disclosure.

Carmen Callil, A L Kennedy,

Ian Jack, Jonathan Coe