THIRTEEN books have made it onto the prestigious Man Booker Prize longlist, writes ESTELLE SINKINS.
Revealed to the public on Thursday, July 27, the list includes four American and four British authors, two from Ireland, two authors of Pakistan and British heritage and one writer from Indian.
The full list is:
- 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster (US) (Faber & Faber);
- Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Ireland) (Faber & Faber);
- History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (US) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson);
- Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan-UK) (Hamish Hamilton);
- Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Ireland) (Canongate);
- Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (UK) (4th Estate);
- Elmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) (JM Originals);
- The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (India) (Hamish Hamilton);
- Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US) (Bloomsbury);
- Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (UK-Pakistan) (Bloomsbury);
- Autumn by Ali Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
- Swing Time by Zadie Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton); and
- The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (US) (Fleet).
It is Roy’s second appearance on the list. Her debut novel, The God of Small Things, won the then Booker Prize in 1997.
Other previously shortlisted writers are Ali Smith (2001’s Hotel World; 2005’s The Accidental; and 2014’s How to Be Both); Zadie Smith (2005’s On Beauty), Barry (2005’s A Long Long Way Down; 2008’s The Secret Scripture; and longlisted in 2011 for On Canaan’s Side) and Mohsin Hamid (2007’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist).
It is a third longlist appearance for McGregor, following his previous novels, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (2002) and So Many Ways To Begin (2006).
There are also three debut novels on the list: Elmet by Mozley, History of Wolves by Fridlund, and Saunders’ first full-length novel, Lincoln in the Bardo.
The longlisted authors were selected to compete for the £50,000 literary prize by a panel of judges which includes: Baroness Lola Young (chairwoman); literary critic, Lila Azam Zanganeh; Man Booker Prize shortlisted novelist, Sarah Hall; artist, Tom Phillips; and travel writer, Colin Thubron.
The list was chosen from 144 submissions published in the United Kingdom between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017.
In a statement, Young said: “Only when we’d finally selected our 13 novels did we fully realise the huge energy, imagination and variety in them as a group.
“The longlist showcases a diverse spectrum — not only of voices and literary styles but of protagonists too, in their culture, age and gender. Nevertheless we found there was a spirit common to all these novels: though their subject matter might be turbulent, their power and range were life-affirming – a tonic for our times.
“Together their authors — both recognised and new — explore an array of literary forms and techniques, from those working in a traditional vein to those who aim to move the walls of fiction.”
The shortlist of six books will be announced on Wednesday, September 13. The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book.
The 2017 winner will be revealed on Tuesday, October 17 in London’s Guildhall at a black-tie dinner which will be broadcast live by the BBC.
The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, first awarded in 1969, is open to writers of any nationality, writing in English and published in the UK. Previous winners include Iris Murdoch, Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and Hilary Mantel.
Last year’s winner Paul Beatty made history as the first writer from the United States to win the prize. Prior to 2014 only citizens of the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland or Zimbabwe were eligible for the prize.
Since then sales of his book, The Sellout, have increased by 658%. To date over 360,000 print copies of the Oneworld edition have been sold, and 26 foreign language rights deals have been secured – 19 of which were sold since his win.
Speaking at a Man Booker reception in New York recently, Beatty said that winning the prize has broadened his world, adding: “I’ll be in Hackney or I’ll be in Calcutta and somebody will stand up and give an amazing diatribe on what this book has meant to them, how this book has touched them. And not all the time, but often, it’s not about how the book is American or it’s set in LA, but about all these bigger things.”