The initial round of nominees for this year’s Man Booker Prize has been revealed with the unveiling of the 13-strong longlist. Now, for the second year in a row, open to any author writing in English and published in the UK (as opposed to writers from the UK, Ireland, Commonwealth and Zimbabwe alone), the list has a decidedly international bent, featuring a mere three nominees from the UK and five from the USA.
The list in full is:
Bill Clegg – Did You Ever Have A Family
Anne Enright – The Green Road
Marlon James – A Brief History of Seven Killings
Laila Lalami – The Moor’s Account
Tom McCarthy – Satin Island
Chigozie Obioma – The Fishermen
Andrew O’Hagan – The Illuminations
Marilynne Robinson – Lila
Anuradha Roy – Sleeping on Jupiter
Sunjeev Sahota – The Year of the Runaways
Anna Smaill – The Chimes
Anne Tyler – A Spool of Blue Thread
Hanya Yanagihara – A Little Life
Enright is the only previous winner to be longlisted, though McCarthy and O’Hagan have both been shortlisted in the past, and Robinson – before last year ineligible, as an American – has twice been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize. The list features three debut authors – Clegg, Obioma and Small – whilst James is the first ever nominee of Jamaican birth, and Lalami the first of Moroccan.
The longlist was chosen by this year’s five judges, who narrowed the list down to 13 from an initial 156 – Ella Wakatama Alfrey, John Burnside, Sam Leith, Frances Osborne and chair Michael Wood, who says of the selection process:
We had a great time choosing this list. Discussions weren’t always peaceful, but they were always very friendly. We were lucky in our companions and the submissions were extraordinary. The longlist could have been twice as long, but we’re more than happy with our final choice.
The range of different performances and forms of these novels is amazing. All of them do something exciting with the language they have chosen to use.
The six-book shortlist will be revealed on 15 September before the prize itself is announced on 13 October.