In truth, A.N. Wilson‘s WINNIE AND WOLF was never actually on the shortlist for the Booker Prize – but for about 15 minutes, he writes in the Telegraph, Wilson didn’t realize there was a mistake because “shortly before four o’clock [the day of the announcement] they rang me in tremendous excitement. It sounded as if one of the nice women in the office had either brought along a puppy to join in the celebrations or was herself having hysterics. “You’re through! You’re on the list!” I was told.”
And then came the about-face. It turns out that PR firm Colman Getty – responsible for all things PR-related for the Booker – had rung Wilson’s publisher Hutchinson by mistake. And about an hour later, a motorbike came to the front door with a letter. “Dear Andrew, I’ve just got back from the Man Booker press conference to hear about the really unfortunate mistake Lois, my assistant, has made in telling Random House that WINNIE AND WOLF has been shortlisted for the prize. I am so, so sorry that this has happened…It was a genuine mistake, and we are all deeply upset by it.” It was signed by someone called Dotty.
Wilson then muses about whether his “favorite” prankster Bevis Hiller was involved, or if circumstances should ever throw him and the unfortunate assistant (really charged with the entire Booker campaign!) together. In the end, he concludes that Lois’s boss was the one in error: “How truly shaming of Dotty to blame Lois for the “genuine” mistake. Dotty, described in the letter as “Chief Executive”, should have apologized collectively rather than naming the unfortunate Lois.” No kidding.
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