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Taking Names: Man Booker Prize nominees announced

- - Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Former winner Hilary Mantel made the long list for Britain's prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction announced on Wednesday, while authors from India, Malaysia and South Africa were also nominated.

The list of 12 titles for the literary prize, picked from a total of 145 books, included four debut novels and three small independent publishers, but it shunned a string of big-name writers.

Ms. Mantel, from Britain, was listed for her novel "Bring up the Bodies," a sequel to her 2009 Booker winner "Wolf Hall," while her compatriot writer Will Self was nominated for the first time for his novel "Umbrella."

There was no place, however, for heavy hitters including Martin Amis, whose novel "Lionel Asbo" was published this year. He has never won the prize.

"We did not set out to reject the old guard but, after a year of sustained critical argument by a demanding panel of judges, the new has come powering through," said chairman of the judges Peter Stothard. "Goodness, madness and bewildering urban change are among the themes of this year's long list."

The short list of six authors will be announced on Sept. 11 while the winner will be announced at a dinner at London's Guildhall on Oct. 16, picking up a $77,400 prize.

The list of nominated authors includes: Nicola Barker, "The Yips"; Ned Beauman, "The Teleportation Accident"; Andre Brink, "Philida"; Tan Twan Eng, "The Garden of Evening Mists"; Michael Frayn, "Skios"; Rachel Joyce, "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry"; Deborah Levy, "Swimming Home (And Other Stories)"; Hilary Mantel, "Bring up the Bodies"; Alison Moore, "The Lighthouse"; Will Self, "Umbrella"; Jeet Thayil, "Narcopolis"; and Sam Thompson, "Communion Town."

'Harry Potter's' Grint carries Olympic torch

Ronald Weasley certainly recognizes a goblet of fire.

Rupert Grint — who played Ron in the famous Harry Potter films — lent a touch of Hogwarts magic to the Olympic torch relay Wednesday by carrying the flame for a leg in northwest London.

Mr. Grint, known for his shock of red hair and for playing Harry's faithful friend, started his turn at Middlesex University and was mobbed as he finished his run.

The 23-year-old actor said that he had not known what to expect, as running was "kind of a new thing" for him.

"I don't usually run for anything, but it was all downhill so I was OK," he said. "It was all a bit of a blur. I'm just so proud to be a part of it."

Some 8,000 people have taken part in the 70-day, 8,000-mile Olympic torch relay that crossed the length of the U.K. and even ventured into Ireland. The relay ends Friday when the last torchbearer lights the cauldron at the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium, marking the official start of the London games.

Jackman to begin filming for 'Wolverine' in Sydney

Hugh Jackman will begin filming the next installment of his "X-Men" spinoff movies, "The Wolverine," in Sydney, Australia, next week, even though the female lead has yet to be confirmed.

"I am so happy to be home. To be shooting a movie of this magnitude here at home to me is one of the great privileges I've had in my career," Mr. Jackman told reporters on the set of the film.

Director James Mangold rejected reports that Jessica Biel had pulled out as the female lead at the last minute, but refused to comment on who would be playing the role of the villainous mutant Viper.

Mr. Jackman, who admitted struggling to get into shape for the film after packing on the pounds to play Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables," said his role as Wolverine, which he first played 12 years ago, was "the backbone of my career."

"I love the character. I still love the character," he said. "I had no choice at the time, I was going to take anything that came along, but I happened to have walked into probably the most interesting and complex of the superhero characters.

"I've always loved playing it, and when I stop loving it I'll stop doing it," he added.

Compiled from Web and wire reports