It’s that time of the year when a clutch of authors sit with fixed smiles as they await the announcement of that most desirable of literary Oscars – the Booker Prize for fiction.

Five will maintain that fake grin as one lucky writer pockets £50,000 and can reflect on their work leaping to the top of the best selling fiction charts.

I have to come clean here and confess that this year’s Sri Lankan winner, Shehun Karunatilaka, having written something which the judging panel called a “supernatural satire” set against the back drop of his native country’s tragic civil war, will probably not have me rushing to the till.

I’m not one for what they call magical realism either in fiction or film, yet you have to applaud the leap of imagination which finds his starting his novel with an already dead photographer granted a week in which to locate his own archive.

It neatly sums up both the capacity of the human imagination to explore avenues well beyond the humdrum, and capture the attention of readers world wide who find themselves transported quite literally into other worlds.

That’s the magic of reading, of being taken to faraway places both geographically and psychologically; living for a few hours inside someone else’s head.

And, in our own minds, picturing the protagonists so vividly that if the book becomes a movie we’re sometimes aghast at how differently the casting director saw the characters.

I love the story of the little girl being asked by her teacher what she was drawing. I’m drawing God, she replied. But, said the teacher, nobody knows what God looks like. They will in a minute, offered the wise wean.

Children are possessed of wonderful imaginations which the wrong kind of education can sometimes suppress rather than allowing to flower. Award-winning authors can always hold on to their inner child.