At last the Man Booker longlist is announced: here are the books everyone is talking about
The Man Booker Prize longlist is announced today and with it several arguments about who was left off, who doesn’t deserve to be on the list and the number of women included. This is the 47th year of the prize, which was launched in 1969.
This year’s longlist is…
Did You Ever Have a Family, by Bill Clegg
The Green Road, by Anne Enright
A Brief History of Seven Killings, by Marlon James
The Moor’s Account, by Laila Lalami
Satin Island, by Tom McCarthy
The Fishermen, by Chigozie Obioma
The Illuminations, by Andrew O’Hagan
Lila, by Marilynne Robinson
Sleeping on Jupiter, by Anuradha Roy
The Year of the Runaways, by Sunjeev Sahota
The Chimes, by Anna Smaill
A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler
A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
Tell me more about the women thing
Last year a measly three women out of 13 were on the shortlist, this year seven. That’s over 50% – thank you, Booker judges! But we still have a way to go when it comes to winning. Of the 47 winners so far over the years, 17 have been women. Yep, we counted.
Who is eligible?
Any novel originally written in English and published in the UK, regardless of the nationality of the author. Novels that have been translated aren’t eligible and neither are self-published works.
Why the fuss?
In a sea of book prizes The Man Booker is widely considered the most prestigious. It makes a big difference to sales for the author (readers love a prize-winner or shortlisted entry, though as the focus tends to be on literary fiction this only affects a small slice of the booking buying market). Being shortlisted (let alone winning) can also have a big impact on the writer’s career. Previous winner, Graham Swift said in 1996, ‘The Booker remains special. It’s the one which, if we’re completely honest, we most covert.’ Oh, and there’s a £50,000 prize.
Who decides on the winner?
This year, the Prize is chaired by Michael Wood (Professor of English at Princeton) and the judges are Ellah Allfrey (journalist), John Burnside (poet), Sam Leith (author) and Frances Osborne (author).
What happens now?
The shortlist will be annoucned on 15th September, then the actual winner at a dinner on 13th October.