It’s here! It’s here!
The lovely people at the Man Booker Prize have announced their longlist for the 2017 award, and the fiction world is abuzz.
As with all awards, there are debates raging about who was left off the list, as I’m sure we’ve all read a book this year that we want lauded from the mountaintops. The Booker Prize year runs from October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017, so books published outside that window are automatically ineligible. It’s also very much worth considering our discussion of class and awards from earlier this summer, and thinking about whose stories aren’t being told here.
However, for what it’s worth, there are some terrific stories being told in these books. Two are from Irish authors, two from UK-Pakistani authors, four Americans authors, four UK authors, and one Indian author (Arundhati Roy’s debut novel, God of Small Things, won the Booker Prize in 1997, and this book is her ‘return to fiction’). Many of these books have been nominated for other awards (especially Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad), and many authors have been shortlisted previously (Sebastian Barry, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, and Mohsin Hamid), while Jon McGregor is longlisted for a third time. There are also debut novels from young writers, giving us a taste of the geographic breadth, scope, and drive of fiction from around the English-speaking world. As Chair of the 2017 judges, Baroness Lola Young, says:
Only when we’d finally selected our 13 novels did we fully realise the huge energy, imagination and variety in them as a group. The longlist showcases a diverse spectrum — not only of voices and literary styles but of protagonists too, in their culture, age and gender. Nevertheless we found there was a spirit common to all these novels: though their subject matter might be turbulent, their power and range were life-affirming – a tonic for our times.
Together their authors — both recognised and new — explore an array of literary forms and techniques, from those working in a traditional vein to those who aim to move the walls of fiction.
So have a look at the list, place your bets, and we’ll be here to announce the short list to you when it’s released on September 13!
The 2017 Man Booker Prize Longlist:
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster (US)
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Ireland)
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (US)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan-UK)
The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (India)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US)
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (UK-Pakistan)
Autumn by Ali Smith (UK)
Swing Time by Zadie Smith (UK)
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (US)
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Ireland) *Will be released in the US on September 19*
Elmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) *Will be released in the US on January 25, 2018*
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (UK) *Will be released in the US in the fall, date unset*