Booker Prize: Robert Macfarlane to chair 2013 award

Booker pile Hilary Mantel won the 2012 Man Booker Prize

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Award-winning author Robert Macfarlane is to chair the judging panel for the 2013 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

A judge in 2004, the Cambridge University fellow takes over from Peter Stothard and will lead five judges to pick the best book of the year.

Macfarlane said he was "proud" to chair a competition that "has done so much to shape the modern literary landscape".

The long list for the Booker Prize will be chosen in July with the winner announced on 15 October 2013.

"I look forward greatly - with, it's true, a dash of trepidation - to the 40,000 or so pages of reading that my fellow judges and I have ahead of us," Macfarlane said.

According to an interview in The Times newspaper, Macfarlane is considering graphic novels for inclusion in the prestigious literary competition.

A rival prize, the Costa Book Award has included two graphic works on its shortlist for the best book of 2012, announced on Wednesday.

The move has split opinion as some critics believe the graphic novel and conventional book cannot be considered alongside each other as similar art forms.

"I don't know if we've ever had one submitted but I wouldn't see it as a problem," Macfarlane told The Times.

"If one were submitted and it didn't infringe the existing rules then it would be a great discussion to have.

"[Charles] Dickens and [Wilkie] Collins ran their periodical chapters heavily illustrated when the were published in the 19th Century," he added.

Macfarlane specialises in contemporary literature at Cambridge and writes on literature, travel and nature for various publications.

He has also written a number of books, including travel-history book Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination, which won the Guardian First Book Award in 2003.

Hilary Mantel won the 2012 Booker Prize for Bring Up the Bodies, making her the first woman and first Briton to win the coveted award twice.

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