Riding high on ratings

October 11, 2002

In ten days, Sarah Waters will learn whether she has won the Booker prize for her novel Fingersmith . She has become the bookies' second favourite since a television adaptation of her first book, Tipping the Velvet, hit the screens this week.

Welsh-born Dr Waters, 36, said that completing her PhD thesis on modern lesbian and gay writing from the late 19th century gave her the discipline and the confidence to write.

She left her job as an Open University lecturer two years ago and has told newspapers: "I knew I would always be a second-rate academic and I thought, 'Well, I'd rather be a second-rate novelist or even a third-rate one'."

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