Why George Osborne's wife has a very important vote next year

Serina Sandhu
Friday 12 December 2014 09:50
Celebrities

Chancellor of the Man Booker?

Don't worry – there isn't a new ministerial position. But it has been announced that Frances Osborne, wife of Chancellor George, will be one of the judges for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction next year.

Another vote, then.

Yes, in addition to the General Election next year, Mrs Osborne will vote to help award one of the most prestigious prizes in literature. She is yet to comment on her new role, but the author will undoubtedly enjoy reading the longlisted books. In the past, she told The Telegraph that she enjoys "getting into bed with a book I am deep into".

Has she always been a writer?

No. Although she wanted to be a writer from a young age, the 45-year-old trained as a barrister before she became an author in 2003. "I went to the bar believing (misguidedly) that I would be able to work part-time and write part time. I ended up in journalism because that really did allow me to structure my life like that until I was lucky enough to become a full-time writer," she told Red Magazine. Since 2004, Mrs Osborne has written two biographies (Lilla's Feast and The Bolter) and her first novel, Park Lane, was published in 2012.

Is she any good?

Her biographies have been translated into several languages and one was a Sunday Times No. 1 bestseller. Park Lane, which is about the lives of a house maid and a debutante in 1914, was shortlisted for the Historical Crime Writers' Association and Goldsboro' Books First Novel Award. Naturally, this announcement has been welcomed by the other judges: academic Michael Wood, journalists Sam Leith and Ellah Allfrey and poet John Burnside. Mr Wood said it was "a privilege to be a member of this very distinguished panel".

Bookish politics.

Others with political connections have helped judge the Man Booker in the past including the former Prime Minister Harold Wilson's wife Mary in 1976 and MP Chris Mullin judged three years ago.

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