For 40 years, the Man Booker Prize has been the leading literary award in the English speaking world. Winning this prize is seen by many as the highest recognition for a work of literary fiction. The prize’s previous winners make up a pantheon of literary gods and heroes.
Here is this year’s Man Booker Prize Long List of 13 outstanding works:
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster (US) (Faber & Faber)
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Ireland) (Faber & Faber)
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (US) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan-UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Ireland) (Canongate)
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (UK) (4th Estate)
Elmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) (JM Originals)
The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (India) (Hamish Hamilton)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US) (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (UK-Pakistan) (Bloomsbury Circus)
Autumn by Ali Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
Swing Time by Zadie Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (US) (Fleet)
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’.
Arundhati Roy makes the list with her second work of fiction, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness; Roy’s debut novel won the then Booker Prize in 1997. She is joined by four previously shortlisted writers: Ali Smith (2001, Hotel World; 2005, The Accidental; and 2014, How to Be Both); Zadie Smith (2005, On Beauty), Sebastian Barry (2005, A Long Long Way Down; 2008, The Secret Scripture; and longlisted in 2011 for On Canaan’s Side) and Mohsin Hamid (2007, The Reluctant Fundamentalist). It is a third longlist appearance for Jon McGregor (2002, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, 2006, So Many Ways To Begin).
Three debut novels are recognised by the judges this year, two of them written by the youngest authors on the list: Elmet by Fiona Mozley, aged 29, and History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund, aged 38. The third is George Saunders’ first full-length novel, Lincoln in the Bardo.
Three independent publishers are longlisted: Canongate, Faber & Faber and Bloomsbury. They are joined by Penguin Random House imprint Hamish Hamilton (which publishes four of the 13 titles), 4th Estate, and Hachette UK imprints: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; JM Originals; and Fleet. The latter two are new imprints and this is the first time they have had a title on the Man Booker Prize longlist.
Luke Ellis, CEO of Man Group, comments:
‘Congratulations to all the authors who have been longlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize. The longlist recognises the hard work and creativity of thought of these exceptional writers, and inclusion is an important achievement. As ever, we are we are very proud to support the Man Booker Prize and the valuable role it plays in promoting literary excellence and endeavour.’
The shortlist and winner announcements
The shortlist of six books will be announced on Wednesday 13 September at a morning press conference at Man Group, the sponsor of the prize. The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book.
The 2017 winner will then be announced on Tuesday 17 October in London’s Guildhall at a black-tie dinner, one of the highlights of the publishing year. The ceremony will be broadcast by the BBC.
The winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize receives £50,000 and can expect international recognition. In the week following the 2016 winner announcement, sales of The Sellout by Paul Beatty increased by 658%. To date over 360,000 print copies of the Oneworld edition have been sold, and 26 foreign language rights deals have been secured – 19 of which were sold since his win.
Beatty made history in 2016 as the first writer from the United States to win the Man Booker Prize. Prior to 2014 only citizens of the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland or Zimbabwe were eligible for the prize.
At a Man Booker reception held in New York last week, Beatty stated that winning the prize has broadened his world and said:
‘I’ll be in Hackney or I’ll be in Calcutta and somebody will stand up and give an amazing diatribe on what this book has meant to them, how this book has touched them. And not all the time, but often, it’s not about how the book is American or it’s set in LA, but about all these bigger things.’
The leading prize for quality fiction in English
First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognised as the leading prize for literary fiction written in English. The list of former winners features many of the literary giants of the last four decades: from Iris Murdoch to Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan to Hilary Mantel.
The rules of the prize were changed at the end of 2013 to embrace the English language ‘in all its vigour, its vitality, its versatility and its glory’, opening it up to writers beyond the UK and Commonwealth.