SOUTH African author, JM Coetzee, has made it on to the longlist for the 2016 Man Booker Prize.
Coetzee, who is nominated for his book, The Schooldays of Jesus (Harvill Secker), has won the prestigious literary award twice before. He won the then Booker Prize in 1983 with Life & Times of Michael K and then with Disgrace in 1999.
The Schooldays of Jesus is a mesmerising allegorical tale, in which Coetzee deftly grapples with the big questions of growing up, of what it means to be a parent, the constant battle between intellect and emotion, and how we choose to live our lives.
This year’s longlist of 13 books was selected by a panel of five judges, Amanda Foreman (chairperson), Jon Day, Abdulrazak Gurnah, David Harsent and Olivia Williams, from 155 submissions published in the United Kingdom between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016.
Also in contention for the £50,000 prize are the following authors:
- Paul Beatty (United States) – The Sellout (Oneworld);
- A.L. Kennedy (UK) – Serious Sweet (Jonathan Cape);
- Deborah Levy (UK) – Hot Milk (Hamish Hamilton);
- Graeme Macrae Burnet (UK) – His Bloody Project (Contraband);
- Ian McGuire (UK) – The North Water (Scribner UK);
- David Means (US) – Hystopia (Faber & Faber);
- Wyl Menmuir (UK) – The Many (Salt);
- Ottessa Moshfegh (US) – Eileen (Jonathan Cape);
- Virginia Reeves (US) – Work Like Any Other (Scribner UK);
- Elizabeth Strout (US) – My Name Is Lucy Barton (Viking);
- David Szalay (Canada-UK) – All That Man Is (Jonathan Cape); and
- Madeleine Thien (Canada) – Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Granta Books).
Levy was shortlisted for the prize in 2012 for Swimming Home, while A.L. Kennedy was a judge for the prize in 1996, the year Graham Swift won with Last Orders.
Four debut novels also make the longlist this year: Means’ Hystopia, The Many by Menmuir; Moshfegh’s Eileen and Work Like Any Other by Reeves.
Speaking about the contenders, Foreman said: “This is a very exciting year. The range of books is broad and the quality extremely high. Each novel provoked intense discussion and, at times, passionate debate, challenging our expectations of what a novel is and can be.
“From the historical to the contemporary, the satirical to the polemical, the novels in this list come from both established writers and new voices. The writing is uniformly fresh, energetic and important. It is a longlist to be relished.”
The shortlist of six books will be announced on Tuesday, September 13 in London. Shortlisted authors will each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book.
The 2016 winner will be announced on Tuesday, October 25 in London’s Guildhall at a black-tie dinner, one of the highlights of the publishing year. The ceremony will be broadcast by the BBC.
The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, first awarded in 1969, is open to writers of any nationality, writing originally in English and published in the UK. Its list of winners features many of the literary giants of the last four decades, from Iris Murdoch to Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and Hilary Mantel.
Last year’s winning novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings by Jamaican author, Marlon James, has sold over 315,000 copies to date in the UK and Commonwealth and is available in 20 languages.
HBO has optioned screen rights to the novel for a series adaptation and, since winning, James has spent the year travelling around the globe, speaking at festivals as diverse as the Jaipur Festival, the Auckland Writers’ Festival, the Sydney Writers Festival, the Hay, Manchester and Brighton Festivals in the UK, the Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica.
For further information about the prize visit http://www.themanbookerprize.com or follow it on Twitter @ManBookerPrize. – Books Editor