Organizers of the Man Booker Prize released their first long list in a competition open to the wide world — or at least to titles written originally in English, and published in the United Kingdom.
Read the column Judging the Man Booker Prize by literature professor and 2012 judge Dinah Birch, in F&O’s Ex Libris section.
The list includes four independent publishers and one publisher, Unbound, that is crowd-funded. Four Americans made the list for a prize previously restricted to the United Kingdom, Commonwealth countries, the Republic of Ireland, and Zimbabwe. The titles were winn owed to 13 from 154 original entries. They are:
- Joshua Ferris (American) — To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)
- Richard Flanagan (Australian) — The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus)
- Karen Joy Fowler (American) — We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent’s Tail)
- Siri Hustvedt (American) — The Blazing World (Sceptre)
- Howard Jacobson (British) — J (Jonathan Cape)
- Paul Kingsnorth (British) — The Wake (Unbound)
- David Mitchell (British) — The Bone Clocks (Sceptre)
- Neel Mukherjee (British) — The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)
- David Nicholls (British) — Us (Hodder & Stoughton)
- Joseph O’Neill (Irish/American) — The Dog (Fourth Estate)
- Richard Powers (American) — Orfeo (Atlantic Books)
- Ali Smith (British) — How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton)
- Niall Williams (Irish) — History of the Rain (Bloomsbury)
Organizers said the shortlist will released September 9 at Man Group, the British investment firm that sponsors the prize, with the winner announced at a black tie event on October 14. For those who find value in competitions that judge literature — I am dubious, though I see the need to spotlight books deemed worthy in the annual flood of words — The Man Booker is, arguably, the world’s most prestigious literary prize after the Nobel.
Shortlisted authors receive £2,500 and a specially-bound edition of their book, said the organization in a press release. The winner receives £50,000 “and can expect overnight fame and international recognition, not to mention a significant increase in book sales.”