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Short listed Byatt may bring another Booker to Buffalo

A visit to Buffalo on Oct. 9 by award-winning author A.S. Byatt, already one of the leading figures in English-language literature, could grow even more auspicious.

Byatt's latest novel, "The Children's Book," is one of six novels on this year's short-list for the annual Man Booker Prize, one of the highest honors the literary world can bestow. The winner will be announced Oct. 6, just three days before Byatt is to appear at Kleinhans Music Hall.

Byatt's visit is part of the Just Buffalo Literary Center's Babel series, established in 2007 with the backing of the Oishei Foundation and dedicated to bringing the world's leading authors to Buffalo. Each visit is pegged to a specific book, in this case Byatt's "Possession: A Romance," which itself won the Man Booker Prize in 1990.

Michael Kelleher, artistic director at Just Buffalo, cited Byatt's repeated appearance on the Man Booker short-list as an affirmation of the Babel series' relevance and the keen perceptiveness of its selection process.

"We really feel like we're trying to bring the best writers in the world to Buffalo for this series. For us, it makes us feel like we're on the right track in terms of knowing what's going on in world literature," Kelleher said. "It just makes us trust our intuition and feel like we're on top of what's going on."

The current Babel season will also feature visits by Ha Jin on Nov. 20, Azar Nafisi on March 5, 2010, and Salman Rushdie on April 16, 2010.

e-mail: cdabkowski@buffnews.com

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