Salman Rushdie and High Fidelity author Nick Hornby lost out at the Whitbread book awards yesterday (03JAN06) after their latest tales were beaten by debut novelist ALI SMITH in the Novel of the Year category. Smith won $9,000 (GBP5,000) for The Accidental, which will go on to compete for the title Whitbread Book of the Year later this month (24JAN06).