LONDON (AP) _ Julian Barnes and Kazuo Ishiguro were favorites Monday to win the Man Booker Prize, Britain's top literary honor.
Barnes leads the field with ``Arthur and George,'' a historical novel based on a piece of real-life detective work by Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
``Never Let Me Go,'' a novel of childhood by Japanese-born Ishiguro, who won the Booker in 1989 for ``The Remains of the Day,'' was also considered a strong contender. So was ``On Beauty,'' the third novel by 29-year-old Zadie Smith, who has twice been on the long list for the prize.
``The Accidental'' by Ali Smith, ``A Long, Long Way'' by Sebastian Barry and ``The Sea,'' by John Banville rounded out the shortlist.
The winner was to be announced Monday evening at a ceremony in London.
Many consider the field one of the strongest in recent years. Big names from the 17-book long list who failed to make the cut include previous winners Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan.
The prize, which comes with an $88,000 check, is open to writers from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth of former British colonies. Founded in 1969 and long known as the Booker Prize, the award was renamed when the financial services conglomerate Man Group PLC began sponsoring it three years ago.