Booker prize - Le Carre declines

IN a world where so many people so viciously elbow for their 15 seconds of fame it is almost unheard of that a person should make a conscious decision to step away from the red carpets and the attendant burlesque.

Yet that is what fiction writer John Le Carre has done. The unsurpassed thriller writer has asked that his name be withdrawn from the 13-strong shortlist for the €68,000 Man Booker International Prize which was announced in Sydney yesterday.

John Le Carre will be 80 in October and he has enjoyed a hugely successful career so he may find it easier to be nonplussed by such attention than someone trying to establish a reputation.

Of course the support and congratulations of your peers is always welcome but so many of today’s award ceremonies are little more than marketing exercises, the Academy Awards being the primary example. Le Carre has shown the independence that shapes all great artists and reminded us that writing is not a competition.

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