As with the Booker, however, the process was not without controversy:
But last night an acute question mark was raised over the Whitbread’s method of picking its winners by the disclosure that the three judges in each section at the shortlisting stage do not read all the books entered by publishers for the longlists, which in some cases total more than 100 .
The prize organisers are understood to split up the entry, and give a third to each judge, who is discouraged from reading or supporting titles outside his or her quota of 40 or so books.
Then each judge is required to put forward three books from their quota for inclusion in the shortlist, which is whittled down to five titles by argument.
“I was not allowed to choose or speak for anything not on my list,” one judge said last night. “I was very sad about that”.
Author website here.