the booker countdown begins...

The clock is ticking... but who will take the Man Booker Prize for Fiction tonight?

Julian Barnes is the bookies’ favourite to win tonight’s Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

The 65-year-old has been shortlisted three times before for Flaubert’s Parrot, England, England, and Arthur & George, but bookmakers William Hill has singled him out to win with odds of 6/4 for his 10th novel The Sense of An Ending.

However, in a year that's been more contentious than many, the "safe" choice may not take the crown, with Carol Birch's Jamrach's Menagerie second most likely to win, according to the bookies, and Esi Edugyan's Half Blood Blues in at third.

Debates have raged over the judges' criteria, including the desire for "readability". Last week saw the launch of a rival award, The Literature Prize, designed to "establish a clear and uncompromising standard of excellence", adding that the Booker "now prioritises a notion of 'readability' over artistic achievement".

WLTB's reviewers have checked out the "readability", or not, of all six of those up for the £50,000 prize:

Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending

Carol Birch's Jamrach's Menagerie

A.D. Miller's Snowdrops

Stephen Kelman's Pigeon English

Patrick deWitt's The Sisters Brothers

Esi Edugyan's Half Blood Blues