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According to the Man Booker Prize website, ‘The Man Booker International Prize recognises one writer for their achievement in fiction.’  Arrgh!

Bizarre that such a horrible gramatical blunder should be sticking out on the front page of a website for a prize dedicated to quality in writing.

One writer cannot be ‘their’. ‘Their’ is plural.

It is an increasingly common error. I suspect because people want to avoid appearing to be sexist, as they would if they wrote ‘one writer for his achievement.’ And quite right – there are as many brilliant female writers as male.

So write ‘for his or her.’ It’s not rocket science.

I saw something similar recently in a newsletter from an expensive Queensland private boys’ school. ‘Your son must wear their hat…’ Not even the wanting to avoid sexism excuse applied in that case. A son could not be ‘her’ by definition. ‘Your son must wear his hat…’ could not have offended anyone.

But back to Peter Carey. He has already won twice – for Oscar and Lucinda, and True History of the Kelly Gang.

The only other two time winner is also a Australian – J.M. Coetzee, who was born in South Africa but lives in Adelaide.

Carey is the bookies’ favourite this year. If chosen, he will be the first three-time winner. On ya mate!

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