My Booker shortlist days are gone: Salman Rushdie
London: For Booker Prize winning author Salman Rushdie, chances of being shortlisted for the prestigious literary award are virtually over as young writers are now being preferred over "established names".
The Mumbai-born and New York-based author, who won the Booker Prize in 1981 for 'Midnight's Children' and was also awarded the "Booker of Bookers" which marked the 25th anniversary of the award in 1993, said judges seem to favour newer and younger authors.
Rushdie was short-listed a record three times ¿ in 1983 for 'Shame', in 1988 for 'The Satanic Verses', and in 1995 for 'The Moor's Last Sigh'. 'Shalimar The Clown' reached the longlist in 2005, and 'The Enchantress of Florence' in 2008.
"I have not been on a Booker Prize shortlist for 20 years, so those days are gone," he told an audience at the annual Cheltenham Literature Festival in south-west England on Saturday.
"If you look at the list this year, other than Anne Tyler there seems to be a desire to move away from established names. No Ishiguro, no Atwood, no Franzen. Certainly Jonathan's book (Purity) has been astonishingly well-received.
If they're trying to favour new voices, younger writers, then fair enough, why not," he pointed out. The Booker Prize for 2015, which has Indian-origin British author Sunjeev Sahota in the running along with five other international authors, will be announced at a ceremony in London's Guildhall on Tuesday night.
The author, who was born in Derbyshire in the East Midlands region of England to Punjabi migrants, is among the favourites to win this year for 'The Year of the Runaways', which traces a year in the lives of four young migrants from India struggling to make a living in England.
Others in the running include Jamaica-born Marlon James' 'A Brief History of Seven Killings', Londoner Tom McCarthy's 'Satin Island', Nigeria-born Chigozie Obioma's 'The Fishermen', Los Angeles author Hanya Yanagihara's 'A Little Life', and Minnesota-born Anne Tyler¿s 'A Spool of Blue Thread'.
Rushdie went on to joke that he may have also been thwarted by a trend for very long books, just as he had begun to write short novels.
"I have to say that long books are in, aren't they. Just as I start writing short books, long books are in. My days of long books are over," he said. His latest novel is "deliberately humorous" after he noticed: "There seems to be very little room for joy or pleasure or the idea that human beings might have something to them apart from darkness and doom.
"I just thought I don't want to write a book like that, so what other kind of book could I write?"