Although it is an unwritten rule that no author wins the Booker Prize twice, Peter Carey picked up his second Booker last week for True History of the Kelly Gang, published in the U.S. by Knopf. Carey, who took home the Booker in 1988 for Oscar and Lucinda, edged out Ian McEwan's Atonement (Jonathan Cape).

But even as the 2001 awards were being announced, the future of the prize is in doubt. The troubled Booker Group has supported the prize since 1968, but was sold last year to the frozen food retailer Iceland. Chief executive Bill Grimsey has said that Iceland will not sever links with the prize until alternative sponsorship is found. The Booker Prize Management Committee has been charged with the task of investigating a new corporate sponsorship that will provide between £250,000 and £300,000 to fund the administration of the prize and the annual lavish and exclusive dinner.

In addition to Atonement, the other listed novels were Oxygen by Andrew Miller (Hodder and Stoughton); number9dream by David Mitchell (Hodder and Stoughton); a first novel by Rachel Seiffert, The Dark Room (Heinemann); and Hotel World by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton), which was also shortlisted for the Orange prize this year.