Tag Archives: Booker Prize

The Booker Prize 2020 Longlist

Booker Prize 2020The Booker Prize 2020 longlist was announced on Tuesday. The 13 titles are:

The New Wilderness by Diane Cook
This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
Who They Was by Gabriel Krauze
The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel
Apeirogon by Colum McCann
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste
Such a Fun Age Kiley Reid
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
Real Life by Brandon Taylor

Redhead by The Side of The Road by Anne Tyler
Love and Other Thought Experiments by Sophie Ward

How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang Continue reading

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The Booker Prize 2020: Predictions, Possibilities and Preferences

Booker Prize longlist predictions are rarely dominated by one book, but the question of whether or not The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel will make the cut will shape a lot of the debate this year. It would open up the potential for Mantel to be the first author to win the Booker Prize three times following the first two books in the trilogy about the life of Thomas Cromwell, Wolf Hall in 2009 and Bring Up the Bodies in 2013.

The Mirror and the Light Hilary MantelSummerwater Sarah MossScabby Queen Kirstin InnesRodham Curtis Sittenfeld

 

 

 

 

 

If the judges do select ‘The Mirror and the Light’, they will still need to nominate another 12 books to sit alongside it on the “Booker dozen” longlist. I haven’t read many eligible books this year due to library closures during lockdown which is my main source of new books. However, I was lucky enough read a review copy of Summerwater by Sarah Moss which is due to be published next month and I would very much like to see Moss receive a long overdue nomination for this brilliantly unnerving novel set in a Scottish holiday park. I also enjoyed Scabby Queen by Kirstin Innes which is about the life of a Scottish pop star and political activist who takes her own life. Continue reading

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My Books of the Year 2019

2019 is the first year non-fiction has more or less overtaken fiction in my reading. This is partly due to shadowing the Wellcome Book Prize at the beginning of the year. My favourite titles from this year’s longlist include the excellent This Really Isn’t About You by Jean Hannah Edelstein and The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein – the latter was our shadow panel winner.

This Really Isn’t About You Jean Hannah Edelstein

The Trauma Cleaner Sarah Krasnostein

Mother Ship Francesca Segal

The Five Hallie Rubenhold

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, the Wellcome Book Prize has been paused for 2020. Mother Ship by Francesca Segal and The World I Fell Out Of by Melanie Reid would definitely have been on my longlist wishlist – two outstanding memoirs about the premature birth of twins and spinal injury respectively. This year’s Baillie Gifford Prize winner The Five by Hallie Rubenhold about the lives of Jack the Ripper’s victims is another stand-out title as is last year’s winner Chernobyl by Serhii Plokhy. Continue reading

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The Booker Prize 2019 Longlist

The Booker Prize 2019 LonglistThe Booker Prize 2019 longlist was announced on Wednesday. The 13 titles are:

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry
My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
The Wall by John Lanchester
The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
Lanny by Max Porter
Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
10 Minutes 38 Seconds In This Strange World by Elif Shafak
Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson

I posted a list of predictions last Sunday – part personal wish list and part those I thought might be successful based on trends from past longlists. In the end, I got four right: ‘Lost Children Archive’ by Valeria Luiselli which was also on the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist, ‘Ducks, Newburyport’ by Lucy Ellmann which looks set to be the indie publishing hit of the year, ‘The Wall’ by John Lanchester and ‘The Testaments’ by Margaret Atwood. Overall, there are fewer surprises than usual in a longlist dominated by established names and previous prizewinners. My prediction about historical fiction hasn’t really transpired in the actual longlist which appears to be more focused on contemporary settings and issues, but I will still be looking out for the books I listed last week. Continue reading

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The Booker Prize 2019: Predictions, Possibilities and Preferences

The Booker Prize 2019The Booker Prize longlist (no longer sponsored by the Man Group) for 2019 is due to be announced on Wednesday 24th July which means it’s time for another game of what Julian Barnes once termed “posh bingo”. I’ve come up with a list of predictions in terms of what I think could be some strong possibilities alongside my own personal preferences, based on a few eligible books I have read in recent months as well as ones I haven’t. As ever, I have no idea which novels have actually been submitted for consideration.

Of the eligible books I have read, one of the most striking titles is Throw Me To The Wolves by Patrick McGuinness which is a literary crime novel loosely based on what happened to Christopher Jefferies when he was wrongly accused of murder and follows the 2011 shortlisting for McGuinness’s debut novel The Last Hundred Days. I would also like to see Little by Edward Carey on the longlist which is a fictionalised account of the early life of Madame Tussaud. Continue reading

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Snap by Belinda Bauer

Snap Belinda BauerThe opening chapter of ‘Snap’ by Belinda Bauer presents a chilling premise based on the unsolved murder of Marie Wilks. On a hot day in the summer of 1998, eleven-year-old Jack Bright is left in a broken-down car by the side of a motorway with his two younger sisters, Joy and Merry, while their pregnant mother, Eileen, goes in search of a telephone for help. However, she never returns and her body is eventually found stabbed to death. 

Three years later and abandoned by their father who was unable to cope, Jack turns to burgling houses to provide for his sisters and escape being noticed by social services. On the other side of town, a young pregnant woman, Catherine While, discovers a knife next to her bed with a note that reads “I could have killed you” but she decides not to tell her husband about the break-in or report it to the police. Elsewhere, DS Reynolds who does everything by the book and DCI Marvel who takes a slightly more unorthodox approach towards detective work are investigating multiple burglaries and the identity of Eileen’s killer who still hasn’t been caught and are in a race against time to solve both mysteries. Continue reading

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The Man Booker Prize 2018 Longlist

Man Booker Prize 2018 Longlist

The Man Booker Prize longlist for 2018 has been announced today (officially this time – it seems it was accidentally leaked by the Guardian yesterday afternoon). The 13 books are:

Snap by Belinda Bauer

Milkman by Anna Burns

Sabrina by Nick Drnaso

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne

Everything Under by Daisy Johnson

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Long Take by Robin Robertson

Normal People by Sally Rooney

From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan Continue reading

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The Man Booker Prize 2018 Longlist: Predictions, Possibilities and Preferences

The Man Booker Prize 2018The Man Booker Prize longlist will be announced on Tuesday 24th July and the annual guessing game of “posh bingo” commences once again. When considering which books could make the cut, I have been thinking about predictions in terms of likely possibilities and my personal preferences – some I have already read, and some I haven’t. I doubt I will better my predictions last year in which I correctly guessed six out of the 13 “Man Booker dozen” longlisted titles including the eventual winner Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. As ever, I have no knowledge of which books have actually been submitted for consideration so my predictions could just as easily be entirely wrong this time.

I would be surprised if the longlist was as dominated by established authors as it was last year. However, Winter by Ali Smith remains a stand-out preference for me, even if the judges decide to plump for something different following Autumn being shortlisted just last year. Another possibility is The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst about a sex scandal involving students at Oxford University during the Blitz and the consequences this has for their families years down the line.  Continue reading

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Man Booker Prize: The Best of the Shortlists

Man Booker Prize shortlistsThe Man Booker Prize is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with a “best of the best” Golden Man Booker Prize due to be awarded next month. However, while the winning novels have often been met by a mixed response, many of the shortlisted and longlisted titles have been well received and in some cases go on to be better known than those taking the prize that year. So if the past winners don’t inspire you, then here is a selection of “the best of the rest” to consider.

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet – shortlisted in 2016, this is a brilliantly original historical crime novel which blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction with outstanding results. Published by Saraband, a small Scottish independent press, I doubt I would have discovered this if it hadn’t been for the publicity generated by the Man Booker Prize. Continue reading

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Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner

Hotel du Lac Anita BrooknerI haven’t read many of the early winners of the Booker Prize but ‘Hotel du Lac’ by Anita Brookner is one I have been meaning to read ahead of the Golden Man Booker Prize celebrations later this year. It tells the story of Edith Hope, a novelist of romantic fiction who is staying at a hotel near Lake Geneva in Switzerland by herself. A keen people-watcher, she has some unusual encounters with various eccentric guests including a rich widow Mrs Pusey and her daughter Jennifer, as well as Monica and her dog Kiki. However, it is Philip Neville, a divorced man also staying at the hotel who makes the most significant impression on the other guests.  Continue reading

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The Golden Man Booker Prize

Golden Man Booker Prize 502018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Man Booker Prize and the organisers have launched a one-off prize to celebrate the best of the winning novels to date.

Five writers and poets will be choosing what they consider to be the best winner from each decade. The judges and their categories are Robert McCrum (1969-1979), Lemn Sissay (1980s), Kamila Shamsie (1990s), Simon Mayo (2000s) and Hollie McNish (2010s). There were joint winners in 1974 and 1992 hence why there are 51 winning novels to date. The “Golden Five” shortlisted books will go to a public vote between 26th May until 25th June and the winner will be announced at the Man Booker 50 festival at the Southbank Centre in London on 8th July. Continue reading

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The Man Booker Prize 2017 Longlist: Predictions, Possibilities and Preferences

Man Booker Prize 2017I only started blogging about my predictions for literary award longlists relatively recently. Three of my Man Booker Prize predictions last year made it on to the longlist of 13 titles, and two of them also made the final six, which I thought was a pretty good success rate considering the vast number of eligible books.

This year’s longlist is due to be announced on Thursday 27th July and I have once again been thinking about predictions in terms of likely possibilities and my personal preferences. I have read some brilliant books over the past year which I believe very much deserve to be recognised but I think other titles may have a better chance of being longlisted. Some of the possibilities are books I haven’t read yet and as ever, I also have no knowledge of which books have actually been submitted for consideration. Continue reading

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Serious Sweet by A. L. Kennedy

Serious Sweet A. L. KennedyLonglisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize, ‘Serious Sweet’ by A. L. Kennedy is set over the course of twenty-four hours in London in 2014, following a day in the lives of 45-year-old recovering alcoholic Meg Williams and 59-year-old divorced senior civil servant Jon Sigurdsson. At first, the characters appear to lead seemingly separate lives but it is gradually revealed that their paths have already crossed before. The day revolves around the pair attempting to meet and whether they are able to move on from the traumatic events which have shaped their lives. Continue reading

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The Man Booker Prize Longlist 2016

Man Booker Prize 2016 Longlist

The longlist for the Man Booker Prize 2016 was announced today. The thirteen books are:

The Sellout by Paul Beatty (Oneworld)
The Schooldays of Jesus by J. M. Coetzee (Harvill Secker)
Serious Sweet by A. L. Kennedy (Jonathan Cape)
Hot Milk by Deborah Levy (Hamish Hamilton)
His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet (Contraband)
The North Water by Ian McGuire (Scribner UK)
Hystopia by David Means (Faber & Faber)
The Many by Wyl Menmuir (Salt)
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (Jonathan Cape)
Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves (Scribner UK)
My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (Viking)
All That Man Is by David Szalay (Jonathan Cape)
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien (Granta Books)

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The Man Booker Prize 2016 Longlist: Predictions, Possibilities and Preferences

Man Booker Prize 2016 logoAlthough I have been following several major literary awards for the past few years, I have never written a blog post specifically outlining my predictions for the Man Booker Prize… until now. Famously dubbed “posh bingo” by 2011 winner Julian Barnes, predicting which 12 or 13 titles will be on the longlist has always been notoriously difficult. Until 2014, the Prize was previously only open to authors from Commonwealth countries but the eligibility criteria have since been extended to allow any work of fiction written in English and published in the United Kingdom to be entered for the Prize. This only makes the annual guessing game even more challenging.

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The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The God of Small Things Arundhati RoyWinner of the Booker Prize in 1997, ‘The God of Small Things’ by Arundhati Roy tells the story of twins Esthappen and Rahel and their extended family living in Ayemenem House in Kerala, southern India including their mother Ammu, their uncle Chacko, grandmother Mammachi, great aunt Baby Kochamma and Chacko’s daughter Sophie Mol. The plot focuses on multiple family tragedies, the most significant of which are the mystery surrounding the death of Sophie Mol and the family’s disapproval of Ammu’s lover Velutha because he is an Untouchable. Continue reading

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Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg

Did You Ever Have A Family Bill CleggLonglisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize, ‘Did You Ever Have a Family’ by Bill Clegg opens with an explosion caused by a gas leak at June Reid’s house on the morning of her daughter’s wedding. The resulting fire destroys the whole house and kills June’s boyfriend Luke, ex-husband Adam, daughter Lolly, and Lolly’s fiancé William. June is the sole survivor and in the wake of the tragedy, she drives across the country to Washington. During her journey, details about the lives of the characters involved and the cause of the fire begin to emerge. Continue reading

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The Man Booker Prize 2015 Longlist

Man Booker Prize Longlist 2015

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)

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Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and CrakeAs I read and enjoyed ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, ‘The Blind Assassin’ and ‘Cat’s Eye’ before I started writing this blog, I thought it was high time I read more of Margaret Atwood’s work. ‘Oryx and Crake’ is the first book in Atwood’s critically acclaimed  dystopian MaddAddam trilogy of novels and tells the story of Snowman – also known as Jimmy – who is believed to be the only human survivor left in a post-apocalyptic world along with genetically modified creatures called Crakers. As Snowman makes a journey back to the place where the destruction occurred which wiped out the human population, we learn through flashbacks how the world came to be almost destroyed and what happened to his friend Crake and the mysterious Oryx. Continue reading

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Us by David Nicholls

Us‘Us’ by David Nicholls tells the story of Douglas Petersen, a middle-aged biochemist whose wife, Connie, suddenly announces that she thinks their marriage of twenty years has “run its course” and that she wants to leave him. Despite their problems, the couple set off on their long-planned family holiday touring western Europe with their teenage son, Albie, before he leaves home to study at university. However, Douglas hopes the trip will help him win Connie back and convince her to save their marriage. Continue reading

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