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Thursday, 15 February, 2001, 09:18 GMT
Lord Baker chairs Booker panel
Lord Baker
Lord Baker in his guise as a TV presenter
The panel of judges for this year's coveted Booker Prize for literature will be chaired by former education secretary Lord Baker.

The former Tory MP and home secretary will head a panel of academics and critics to choose the winner, to be announced on 17 October.

Lord Baker is a published author himself with five anthologies of poetry, a volume of memoirs, The Turbulent Years, and two cartoon histories.

The Booker Prize is widely regarded as the UK's most prestigious fiction award.

Last year's 21,000 prize was won by Margaret Atwood for The Blind Assassin.

Literary panel

The rest of this year's judging panel will include novelist and critic Philip Hensher, who has written three novels including Other Lulus and Kitchen Venom.

Novelist and poet Michele Roberts, whose works include A Piece of the Night and Daughters of the House, will also be on the panel.

The other two judges will be Kate Summerscale, literary editor of The Daily Telegraph, and Professor Rory Watson, a writer and University of Stirling academic.

Last year's chairman was journalist Simon Jenkins.

The rest of panel included broadcaster and journalist Mariella Frostrup and best-selling author Rose Tremain.

33rd year

Now in its 33rd year, the Booker Prize remains one of the most famous and widely discussed literary prizes in the world.

Previous winners have included Kingsley Amis, Anita Brookner and Ben Okri.

Last year was the fourth time Margaret Atwood, who lives in Toronto, had been shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

The Blind Assassin is her 10th novel. Her other novels include The Handmaid's Tale, Cat's Eye and Alias Grace.

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See also:

07 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Atwood wins Booker Prize
07 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Booker Prize 2000: Margaret Atwood
06 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Booker Prize 2000: The Reviews
06 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Booker outsiders eye prize
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