Booker Win Is No Small Thing

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LONDON: The Booker Prize, the laurel wreath offered annually to the most worthy tome written in Britain, Ireland or Commonwealth countries, has gone this year to first-time female novelist Arundhati Roy's “The God of Small Things.”

The Indian writer's debut work, a frenetic treatise on caste prejudice, has had a mixed reception: At least one reviewer found it "pretty hard going" and the London Daily Telegraph described it as "emotive but meaningless verbiage, crammed with inappropriate metaphors." But what seemed to attract the most attention was the near-$2 million paid to its writer before it was even published.

Budding authors everywhere, take heart: It is possible to win one of literature's top prizes with your first novel — and an advance of that size should insure you against the slings and arrows of outrageous critics.