Author hopes for happier Ending

Julian Barnes has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for the fourth time – and will battle it out with two first-time novelists.

Barnes, who is still to win the award, is nominated for The Sense Of An Ending and is the favourite of the six authors to win the prize.

Debut novelists Stephen Kelman and AD Miller were also revealed to be on the list announced yesterday.

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Carol Birch, who was previously longlisted in 2003, was also placed on the shortlist yesterday by the judging panel headed by former director general of MI5 Dame Stella Rimington.

A surprise omission from the list was the hotly-tipped The Stranger’s Child by previous Booker winner Alan Hollinghurst. He had been placed on this year’s longlist and had been fancied by bookies.

Barnes, 65, has previously been nominated for the Booker with Flaubert’s Parrot (1984), England, England (1998), and most recently with Arthur & George (2005).

The eventual winner of the £50,000 prize will be announced on October 18 at London’s Guildhall.