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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 February, 2005, 18:19 GMT
Edinburgh to host global Booker
Margaret Atwood
Previous Booker winner Margaret Atwood is among the nominees
Edinburgh is to host the international Booker Prize's first ceremony in June.

The winner of the 60,000 prize will be announced in London in early June and be invited to accept the award at a ceremony in Edinburgh later that month.

Edinburgh was named the world's first city of literature by the United Nations cultural body Unesco last year.

Dame Muriel Spark, Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Saul Bellow and John Updike are among the 18 nominees for the inaugural prize.

The Man Booker International Prize has been set up to honour living authors of all nationalities who write in English or are widely translated.

The prize will be handed out every other year and will reward an author for their body of work instead of just one book.

'Enthusiasm and commitment'

The international award was started in response to criticism that the main Booker Prize was only open to British and Commonwealth authors.

James Boyle, chair of the Edinburgh Unesco city of literature initiative, said the Scottish capital was "a fitting place to launch this new world event".

Harvey McGrath, chairman of the Man Group, said organisers were "delighted by the enthusiasm and commitment" shown by the city.

The Edinburgh ceremony will involve an awards dinner and keynote speech by chair of judges Professor John Carey, while other activities will take place in the city around the event.

Saul Bellow, Gunter Grass, Milan Kundera, Philip Roth and Antonio Tabucchi are among the other nominees.

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