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Friday, 18 January, 2002, 20:03 GMT
Betting suspended on Whitbread prize
The children's book winner has not been named yet
The children's book winner has not been named yet
Betting has been suspended on the Whitbread book of the year after a flood of bets for the children's entry, even though it hasn't been picked yet.

Judges have still to announce which children's title will go forward to compete for the overall prize, but it is now the 7-4 favourite regardless according to William Hill.

Among the books in the running for the younger readers' book prize is The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman and former Monty Python star Terry Jones' story The Lady and the Squire.

Winners from several different Whitbread categories - novel, first novel, biography, poetry and children's - go forward to the Book Of The Year.

All have already been chosen except the children's.

Contenders

William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said: "We've ended up with a completely lop-sided betting situation now with no one betting on anything other than the children's winner.

"No children's book has ever taken the overall prize, so the law of averages suggests it is long overdue."

Terry Jones' story has been short-listed
Terry Jones' story has been short-listed
Last year a novel won the prize but poetry had dominated for the previous four years.

Other contenders for the children's book are Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl and Eva Ibbotson's Journey to the River Sea.

The winner, and the winner of the book of the year, will be announced on January 22.

The previously announced category winners are Selkirk's Island Diana Souhami (biography), Twelve Bar Blues by Patrick Neate (novel), Something Like A House by Sid Smith (first novel) and First Bunny by Selmia Hill (poetry).



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