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Dame Stella Rimington Chairs 2011 Man Booker Prize

29th November 2010

Dame Stella Rimington has been chosen to chair the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.  She was the first woman to be appointed Director General at MI5 and her time in the service included leadership in all key areas from counter-terrorism to counter-subversion and counter-terrorism.  Her experiences have been chronicled in the autobiography ‘Open Secret’ and she has also authored five of her own novels since leaving the service.  Dame Stella is already looking forward to the stimulating debates in store and the titles under consideration will be announced in late July – with the winner to be announced at a ceremony on Tuesday 18th October 2011. 

Dame Stella will be chairing the panel which includes Susan Hill, Chris Mullin, Gaby Wood and former editor of The Spectator Matthew d’Ancona.  Matthew is not only an after dinner speaker but also a keynote speaker on all topics across current and world affairs.  As an award-winning writer and editor – accolades include ‘Current Affairs Editor of the Year’ – he has been Deputy Editor at The Sunday Telegraph and Assistant Editor at The Times.  Matthew is currently donning his hat as an author to work on his books and the script he is writing for US television. 

The panel itself is carefully selected to include a major figure, a literary critic, an academic, a literary editor and a novelist.  The initial longlist consists of twelve or thirteen books followed by a shortlist of six and the 2010 Prize went to the author Howard Jacobson for The Finkler Question.  There are many similarities and connections between writing and speaking but also a number of differences.  Not all writers are great speakers by any means and many are far happier in a question and answer setting than speaking after a dinner for example.  With the rise of the media the medium of speaking is becoming more and more popular – from Stephen Fry sharing his latest chronicles at the Royal Albert Hall to star speakers bringing The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival to a close this year. 

We look forward to hearing the results of the long – and short – lists, and bringing you all the latest updates as the judging progresses throughout the year.

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