It’s that time of year again! The Booker prize short list has been announced! It’s the time of year when the long list of potential winners is narrowed down to the shortlist – in other words, reading time.
According to Ion Trewin, the late literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation, the main criteria for winning the Man Booker prize are twofold: a novel written in English, and deemed “the best novel in the opinion of the judges”. What is unique about the prize, though, is that the judges are made up of general readers – not necessarily literary critics. Previous judges have been poets, journalists, actors, broadcasters, and more. This year’s judges include Ellah Allfrey, an editor and broadcaster; John Burnside, a writer and poet; Sam Leith, an editor and columnist; and author Frances Osborne.
Six talented authors have been shortlisted for the prestigious book prize this year, and they are:
- Marlon James (Jamaica), A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld Publications). What really happened the day Bob Marley’s home was stormed by seven gunmen? This novel was inspired by the event, and explores the history of Jamaica, using a variety of unique voices.
- Tom McCarthy (UK), Satin Island (Jonathan Cape). This story follows U, a major consultancy employee who, instead of working on the two seemingly impossible tasks assigned to him, becomes lost in media images, and wonders if there is a logic that binds all of the worlds events. If he can figure out the puzzle, can he figure out the meaning of our world?
- Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), The Fishermen (ONE, Pushkin Press). Set in the mid ’90s in a small town in Nigeria, this novel follows the story of four brothers divided by the prophecy of a local madman. Using traditional African storytelling techniques, this novel explores the history and culture of Nigeria.
- Sunjeev Sahota (UK), The Year of the Runaways (Picador). Flashing between present day and childhood, this story follows 3 Indian men sharing a house in Sheffield, England, and the unlikely way a family will sometimes form.
- Anne Tyler (US), A Spool of Blue Thread (Chatto & Windus). Though this tale starts in the present day, it follows the lives of three generations of the Whitlock family, facing the same challenges, decisions, milestones, and so on, that most will recognize and relate to.
- Hanya Yanagihara (US), A Little Life (Picador). This story follows the friendship of four men through life’s ups and downs. However, their biggest challenge may actually be one of them: Jude, a brilliant litigator and tortured soul.
As each novel is a well told, and unique story, it should be interesting to see which will be the winner. Happy Reading!
Visit the Man Booker website for lots more interesting information: themanbookerprize.com.