JK Rowling seems set to win the only literary success which has so far eluded her - her first adult book prize. Her latest book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was shortlisted for the fiction section of the WH Smith Book Awards, which will be open for voting on January 14th.
Though it was marketed as a children's story, the novel's themes of isolation and death, as its hero reaches his mid-teens, were considered to make it eligible for the adult prize.
A WH Smith spokeswoman said:
"The fiction award usually excludes children's fiction but The Order of the Phoenix was regarded as more of an adult book than the earlier Harry Potters."
Shortlists are picked by two members of the public plus a celebrity, with no literary specialists on the panel. The celebrity for this year's fiction shortlist was the television actor Robson Green. But the choice for the final award is made entirely by members of the public voting in stores, online, by post or text message. The winner will be announced on March 16th.