The now traditional ‘Booker dozen’ longlist (that’s 13 titles) for 2009 was announced on 28 July. One of these titles will be chosen to win this year’s Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
The 13 books picked for the longlist are:
- The children’s book by A S Byatt (Random House/Chatto and Windus)
- Summertime by J M Coetzee (Random House/Harvill Secker)
- The quickening maze by Adam Foulds (Random House/Jonathan Cape)
- How to paint a dead man by Sarah Hall (Faber and Faber)
- The wilderness by Samantha Harvey (Random House/Jonathan Cape)
- Me Cheeta, the autobiography by James Lever (HarperCollins/Fourth Estate)
- Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall HarperCollins/Fourth Estate)
- The glass room by Simon Mawer (Little, Brown)
- Not untrue & not unkind by Ed O’Loughlin (Penguin, Ireland)
- Heliopolis by James Scudamore (Random House/Harvill Secker)
- Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín (Penguin/Viking)
- Love and summer by William Trevor (Penguin/Viking)
- The little stranger by Sarah Waters (Little, Brown/Virago)
The longlist was drawn up from a total of 132 books considered by the judges, of which 11 were ‘called in’ (chosen from supplementary lists submitted by the publishers, who may initially submit only two titles each). The Man Booker Prize is open to books written in English by Commonwealth and Irish writers published between last October and this September. It describes itself as ‘the leading literary award in the English speaking world’.
A shortlist of six of the above titles will be announced on Tuesday, 8 September. The winning title will be revealed on Tuesday, 6 October in a televised ceremony. Last year, the overall winner of the Man Booker Prize was The white tiger by Aravind Adiga. This book is held by the library—we usually acquire the six shortlisted Man Booker titles each year.
This year’s longlist includes three first novels: by Samantha Harvey, James Lever, and Ed O’Loughlin. The list also includes two previous winners: A S Byatt and J M Coetzee. Coetzee (Nobel prize for Literature in 2003) would be the first author to win the Man Booker three times and, despite his book not being published until 3 September, he is one of the hot favourites!
Seven other previous Booker winners who had new books submitted were excluded from the longlist including Margaret Atwood (The year of the flood), Penelope Lively, Thomas Keneally (The people’s train), John Banville (The infinities), and last year’s winner Aravind Adiga. Other titles considered by critics to have missed out are books by Nick Hornby, David Peace, Kamila Shamsie (Burnt shadows), Amit Chaudhuri (The immortals), Jane Gardam (The man in the wooden hat), Tobias Hill (The hidden) and Suhayl Saadi (Joseph’s box). Collections of short stories are not eligible for the prize, thus denying excellent new titles from Kazuo Ishiguro, A L Kennedy, and Alice Munro (winner of this year’s Man Booker International Prize).
The Guardian has launched a ‘Not The Booker Prize prize’ where anyone can vote for the book they would like to win the prize—voting closes on Sunday 23 August. The top 13 books in the Guardian’s very long Not The Booker list (at 11 August) include only two of the titles (by Coetzee and Mantel) in the official Booker longlist.
Initial press reports concentrated on the unlikely inclusion of Me Cheeta, the autobiography on the longlist. Its author was intially cloaked in mystery but was presumed not to be a chimpanzee.