The shortlisted novels for the Man Booker Prize 2009.
The shortlisted novels for the Man Booker Prize 2009.

Man Booker's premier league announced

The shortlist for the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction was announced this morning in London. The six nominees for the £50,000 (Dh300,000) prize, which will be awarded at a ceremony at London's Guildhall on October 6, include two previous winners of the award, JM Coetzee and AS Byatt. If the South African Coetzee wins for Summertime, a fictional memoir of a dead writer named John Coetzee, he will be the only person to have won the Man Booker three times: he won before for Disgrace in 1999 and Life & Times of Michael K in 1983. Byatt, who is nominated for The Children's Book, a family saga about childhood and the power of storytelling, won for Possession in 1990. The novel was subsequently made into a film starring Gwyneth Paltrow.

The bookmakers' favourite to win is Hilary Mantel for Wolf Hall, an historical novel about Henry VIII's adviser Thomas Cromwell. (Mantel was shortlisted for her novel Beyond Black in 2005.) Also nominated are Adam Foulds for The Quickening Maze, about the 19th-century English poet John Clare and his struggle with depression; Simon Mawer for his eighth novel, The Glass Room, an allegory of the Second World War set in 1930s Czechoslovakia; and Sarah Waters for The Little Stranger, a ghost story narrated by a middle-aged doctor.

The chair of the judges, James Naughtie, applauded "six writers on top of their form" and said the shortlist was "so enticing that it will certainly give us a headache when we come to select the winner. The choice will be a difficult one. There is thundering narrative, great inventiveness, poetry and sharp human insight in abundance. "It's a measure of our confidence in their books that all of us are looking forward to reading them yet again before we decide on the prize-winner. What more could we ask?'

Each of the six shortlisted authors, including the winner, receives £2,500 (Dh15,000) and a designer-bound edition of their own book. Notable by their absence from the shortlist were longlisted novels by big hitters such as William Trevor and Colm Tóibín; also James Lever's much-praised Me Cheeta, the fictional autobiography of the chimp who starred opposite Johnny Weismuller in the Tarzan films of the 1930s. Naughtie conceded that Me Cheeta was a "fantastic spoof", but said the panel ultimately felt it was unworthy of inclusion in the "premier league". He added: "Both the Tóibín and the Trevor sailed onto the longlist and sat there with great distinction. But it came to the point with the shortlist where we had to chisel away to get down to the core.'

Last year's Man Booker Prize was won by Aravind Adiga for The White Tiger, which has sold more than half a million copies and been translated into 39 languages. Naughtie presided over a judging panel which comprised the biographer and critic Lucasta Miller; the academic, journalist and broadcaster Professor John Mullan; Michael Prodger, the literary editor of The Sunday Telegraph; and Sue Perkins, the comedian and broadcaster.

* John O'Connell

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Sale of Chelsea Football Club is now impossible.


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5


Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Youth YouTuber Programme

The programme will be presented over two weeks and will cover the following topics:

- Learning, scripting, storytelling and basic shots

- Master on-camera presence and advanced script writing

- Beating the algorithm and reaching your core audience

India squad for fourth and fifth Tests

Kohli (c), Dhawan, Rahul, Shaw, Pujara, Rahane (vc), Karun, Karthik (wk), Pant (wk), Ashwin, Jadeja, Pandya, Ishant, Shami, Umesh, Bumrah, Thakur, Vihari

Company profile

Name: JustClean

Based: Dubai with offices in other GCC countries

Launch year: 2016

Number of employees: 160+ with 21 nationalities in eight cities

online laundry and cleaning services

Funding: $30m from Kuwait-based Faith Capital Holding and Gulf Investment Corporation


Started: 2018

Founders: Eslam Hussein and Pulkit Ganjoo

Based: Dubai

Sector: Transport

Size: 9 employees

Investment: $1,275,000

Investors: Class 5 Global, Equitrust, Gulf Islamic Investments, Kairos K50 and William Zeqiri


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Women & Power: A Manifesto

Mary Beard

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Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
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Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”


Friday (UAE kick-off times)

Sassuolo v Bologna (11.45pm)


Brescia v Torino (6pm)

Inter Milan v Verona (9pm)

Napoli v Genoa (11.45pm)


Cagliari v Verona (3.30pm)

Udinese v SPAL (6pm)

Sampdoria v Atalanta (6pm)

Lazio v Lecce (6pm)

Parma v Roma (9pm)

Juventus v Milan (11.45pm)


Sweet Tooth

Creator: Jim Mickle
Starring: Christian Convery, Nonso Anozie, Adeel Akhtar, Stefania LaVie Owen
Rating: 2.5/5


Saturday  (UAE kick-off times)

Leganes v Getafe (12am)​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Levante v Alaves (4pm)

Real Madrid v Sevilla (7pm)

Osasuna v Valladolid (9.30pm)


Eibar v Atletico Madrid (12am)

Mallorca v Valencia (3pm)

Real Betis v Real Sociedad (5pm)

Villarreal v Espanyol (7pm)

Athletic Bilbao v Celta Vigo (9.30pm)


Barcelona v Granada (12am)

The Meg
Director: Jon Turteltaub
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