The longlist for this year’s Man Booker Prize was announced today. The thirteen titles are:
- Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg (US)
- The Green Road by Anne Enright (Ireland)
- A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Jamaica)
- The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami (US)
- Satin Island by Tom McCarthy (UK)
- The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria)
- The Illuminations by Andrew O’Hagan (UK)
- Lila by Marilynne Robinson (US)
- Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy (India)
- The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota (UK)
- The Chimes by Anna Smaill (New Zealand)
- A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (US)
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (US)
This is the second year in the history of the Man Booker Prize where authors from anywhere in the world writing in English and published in the UK have been eligible for entry, having previously only been open to authors from Commonwealth countries. This year’s longlist leans more towards authors from the United States although the geographical balance may change when this is whittled down to a shortlist of six in September. It’s also notable that Marlon James and Laila Lalami are the first Jamaican-born and Moroccan-born authors respectively to be nominated for the prize.
I found last year’s longlist a little underwhelming overall but I did enjoy the three books I read from the list: ‘Us‘ by David Nicholls, ‘The Lives of Others‘ by Neel Mukherjee and ‘How to be both‘ by Ali Smith. On this year’s list, some of the big literary names like ‘The Buried Giant‘ by Kazuo Ishiguro and the upcoming ‘Purity’ by Jonathan Franzen are notably absent and I know many were hoping that ‘A God in Ruins’ by Kate Atkinson would be recognised too. I would love to see a full list of books submitted by publishers like the one released by the Folio Prize. I had hoped to see ‘The Book of Strange New Things‘ by Michel Faber on the longlist along with ‘Academy Street‘ by Mary Costello but I don’t know if either of these novels were even considered by the judges.
Once again, I have read a grand total of 0 books on the longlist. I want to read ‘A Spool of Blue Thread’ by Anne Tyler as well as more of her earlier works such as ‘Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant’. I have also heard incredible things about ‘A Little Life’ by Hanya Yanagihara which is being talked about as one of the books of the decade. Similarly, Bill Clegg’s debut novel hasn’t been published yet but has generated a lot of interest recently.
The shortlist will be announced on 15th September followed by the winner on 13th October. What do you think of this year’s longlist? Have you read any of the novels? Which books missed out? Could this year’s Prize see the first non-Commonwealth winner?