“These are the nettles we have been compelled to try and grasp,” she told reporters. But there was some criticism of the award, partly because the choice was narrowed to just six nominees. “It’s an artificial exercise, simply because the general public only got to pick from six of the previous winners,” said Jonathan Ruppin, promotions manager at Foyles bookshop. “Readers have not been able to vote for some of their most enduring favourites,” he added, mentioning, among others, Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things and Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day. Around 8,000 people from around the world took part in the online poll, and Midnight’s Children won 36 per cent of votes.