Cecelia outsells entire Booker shortlist line-up

CHICK-LIT novelist Cecelia Ahern’s latest book has sold more copies than all the six novels on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize.

Miss Ahern’s A Place Called Here has sold 24,269 copies in Ireland since publication last October, while the six on the shortlist for the world’s most prestigious literary prize have notched up combined sales figures of 18,391.

Perhaps worse for Ireland’s literary high-brow, glamour model Jordan’s latest book, Crystal, is ahead of all bar two of the Booker list novels in the Irish sales charts. Trade figures from Nielsen BookScan, which compiles the bestseller lists, reveal that Crystal has sold 2,176 paperback and hardback copies in the Republic of Ireland.

By contrast Booker contender Mohsin Hamid’s novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist has sold just 535 copies.

Fellow contender Lloyd Jones’ Mister Pip has sold just 66 copies while Indra Sinha’s Animal’s People, a re-telling of the Bhopal disaster, has sold 47 copies.

Prize hopeful Nicola Barker’s work, Darkmans, has sold just 36 copies since going on sale in May.

Anne Enright’s The Gathering has sold 4,588 copies in Ireland, putting the writer ahead of Jordan but behind Cecelia Ahern.

Only the Booker novel On Chesil Beach by literary giant Ian McEwan has sold more books than Jordan’s latest co-written effort with 13,119 copies flying off the shelves since April this year.

But still the great man of English letters has seen his sales dwarfed by Cecelia Ahern, who like him has seen her work adapted for cinema.

In Britain the sales picture is even worse for the six novelists: Jordan’s Crystal has sold 159,407 copies versus a combined total of 120,770 for the big-wigs on the Booker shortlist.

Open to British and Irish citizens as well as writers from Britain’s Commonwealth, the Man Booker prize for contemporary fiction is worth £50,000 (€71,768) to the winner.

Earlier this year a “long-list” of 13 novels was chosen from scores of books on the market and then a shortlist of a six was drawn up by the judges, who will announce their overall winner on October 16.

According to the organisers of the Man Booker Prize, the award “is the world’s most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and even publishers.”

While Cecelia Ahern’s best efforts have not made this year’s Man Booker Prize shortlist, she knows she has won one of the best literary awards cherished by authors everywhere: hard-earned cash from the book-buying public.

Based on sales of 24,269 copies, Cecelia Ahern’s book A Place Called Here has notched up a cool €199,689 in sales in the space of a year.

Not bad for putting up with 12 months of sniping from high-brow critics.

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