Hugh Grant to join judges panel for book award
Actor will help judge the Whitbread Book of the Year Award
LONDON - Organizers of the Whitbread Book of the Year Award have named Hugh Grant to the panel of judges for the 2004 prize.
Sponsor Whitbread PLC announced Wednesday that the 44-year-old star of “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Notting Hill” would join a panel that includes broadcasters Trevor McDonald and Mariella Frostrup, lawmaker Michael Portillo and Lord Hattersley, a former deputy leader of the Labour Party.
On the award’s Web site, Grant — who studied English at Oxford University — cited Kingsley Amis’ “Lucky Jim,” Philip Roth’s “Portnoy’s Complaint,” Vladimir Nabokov’s “Speak, Memory” and “The Blessing” by Nancy Mitford as his favorite books.
The annual Whitbread Book Awards were established in 1971 and are Britain’s longest-running literary competition. They are open to residents of Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
Winners in each of five categories — novel, first novel, biography, poetry and children’s book — will be announced Jan. 6. One of the five, selected by Grant and his fellow judges, will win the $58,000 book of the year prize on Jan. 25.
Previous celebrity judges have included model Jerry Hall and actor Ralph Fiennes.