Former Sunderland MP hits out at literati over Man Booker Prize ‘huffing and puffing’

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LONDON’S literati have been dismissed for their “huffing and puffing” by Man Booker judge Chris Mullin, who helped to preside over the selection of its heavily criticised “readable” shortlist.

The diarist and former Sunderland South MP, hit back at critics who said that this year’s shortlist of six books was proof the award had dumbed down.

He said that much of the “indignation” that greeted the shortlist was because the judges had ignored the advice of London’s literati, who told them which authors they “must include”.

Mr Mullin and his fellow judges, including former MI5 chief Dame Stella Rimington, omitted celebrated authors including Philip Hensher and favourite Alan Holinghurst from the shortlist for the £50,000 prize.