Camden’s Howard Jacobson scoops the Man Booker

CAMDEN author Howard Jacobson surprised the literary world last night by scooping its most prestigious accolade.

Mr Jacobson’s ‘The Finkler Question’, a comedy that explores the nature of Jewishness, is the first comic novel to win the Man Booker prize in its 40-year history.

Last year the �50,000 prize went to Hilary Mantel for her examination of Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall.

With bookmakers odds of 10/1 ‘The Finkler Question’ was an outsider at the awards, which were held at Guildhall in central London, but in the end Mr Jacobson triumphed over favourite Tom McCarthy.

The ex-market trader from Manchester has been long-listed for the prize twice before, however, this year was the first time he joined the final six on the shortlist.

Poet Laureate and chair of the judges, Andrew Motion, said: “The Finkler Question is a marvellous book - very funny, of course, but also very clever, very sad and very subtle. It is all that it seems to be and much more than it seems to be. A completely worthy winner of this great prize.”

Mr Jacobson was a particular hit at the Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival hosted by the Ham&High and the London Jewish Cultural Centre (LJCC).

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LJCC Marketing Director, Mandy King, said: “Everyone here is delighted by Man Booker’s recognition of Howard’s work.

“His events with us are always joyous occasions – resonating with his humour and emotive depictions of Jewish life.

“He was one of the highlights of our recent literary festival, particularly when we discovered a ‘Mrs Finkler’ happened to be in the audience.”