Some time ago, I managed to predict both the Booker and Mercury prizewinners two years running. One of my prophecies was even in print: "Still, Hollinghurst'll be laughing when he picks up the Booker later this year". Yessssssss.
But of late, my radar has gone wonky. To Jamie: "It's seriously unlikely that the Arctic Monkeys will win it. This is the Mercury, that wouldn't happen. Hawley'll get it." Noooooo.
So it is with some trepidation that I give you my Booker Prize shortlist prediction (the real thing is announced tomorrow). I've only read nine of the 19-strong longlist, so I'm not completely in the know, but I'm going to stick my neck out and suggest:
Theft - Peter Carey
So Many Ways to Begin - Jon McGregor
The Emperor's Children - Claire Messud
Black Swan Green - David Mitchell
The Perfect Man - Naeem Murr
The Testament of Gideon Mack - James Robertson
With Peter Carey to win.