Every year, the best written-in-English fiction novel will be awarded The Man Booker prize by a group of literary experts. Notable past winners include Salman Rushdie‘s Midnight Children (1981), Yann Martel‘s Life of Pi (2002) and Kiran Desai‘s The Inheritance of Loss (2006).
There are several stages involved in choosing a prize winner: (1) the longlist, (2) the shortlist, and (3) the winner. On 23rd of July 2014, the judging committee announced 13 books for the longlist (refer to table below). A shortlist of six titles will be announced on Tuesday 9th of September. A winner will be revealed on live television on 14th of October. In addition to the bragging rights, the winner will take home £50,000.
|To Rise Again at a Decent Hour||Joshua Ferris|
|The Narrow Road to the Deep North||Richard Flanagan|
|We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves||Karen Joy Fowler|
|The Blazing World||Siri Hustvedt|
|The Wake||Paul Kingsnorth|
|The Bone Clocks||David Mitchell|
|The Lives of Others||Neel Mukherjee|
|The Dog||Joseph O’Neill|
|How to Be Both||Ali Smith|
|History of the Rain||Niall Williams|
In previous years, only authors from the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland were eligible to run for the prize. However the rule has changed – there is no more nationality restriction. This year’s longlist include 4 authors from the United States of America: Joshua Ferris, Karen Joy Fowler, Siri Hustvedt and Richard Powers.
Some of the longlisted novels have yet to be published e.g. Howard Jacobson’s J (UK publication date: 25th of September 2014) and David Nicholls’s Us (UK publication date: 30th of September 2014). Both are established writers: Jacobson’s The Finkler Question won the 2010 Man Booker Prize while Nicholls’s work for TV has earned him two British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) nominations. As pointed out by one visitor at the longlist announcement (scroll down to the ‘comments’ section),
“How is the literary reading public meant to engage with the choices in any kind of informed way if no one, beyond select Booker judges, has any chance of reading them? This was not always the case … Seems very elitist and self indulgent to me.”
What do you think of this year’s longlist? Have you read any of the novels? Any book that you think got snubbed by the judging committee?