Man Booker Prize longlist announced

July 28, 2009 by · 5 Comments 

And, as usual, I haven’t read a single one of them. The baker’s dozen are:

  • The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt
  • Summertime by J.M. Coetzee
  • The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds
  • How to Paint a Dead Man by Sarah Hall
  • The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey
  • Me Cheeta by James Lever
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  • The Glass Room by Simon Mawer
  • Not Untrue & Not Unkind by Ed O’Loughlin
  • Heliopolis by James Scudamore
  • Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
  • Love and Summer by William Trevor
  • The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

No Canadian names on the list, which is open to Commonwealth writers with books published in the U.K. between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009. The jury considered 132 titles, of which 11 were called in, to come up with the longlist. Jury chair James Naughtie (refrain from comment, Beattie, refrain …) calls this year’s longlist “one of the strongest in recent memory,” and goes on to say:

Our fiction is in the hands of original and dedicated writers with fresh and appealing voices. This is an eclectic list, taking us from the court of Henry VIII to the Hollywood jungle, with stops along the way in a nineteenth century Essex asylum, an African warzone and a futuristic Brazilian city among other places.

The shortlist will be announced on September 8, and the winner of the £50,000 purse will be declared on October 6.


5 Responses to “Man Booker Prize longlist announced”
  1. Panic says:

    I’m about 100 pages from the end of the AS Byatt. It’s fantastic, but I don’t think prize winning. I’d think it won’t make it to the short list, but like you I’ve not read the others.

  2. Mark Medley says:

    I have some reading to do. None of these really excite me too much, though. Perhaps I’ll be surprised.

  3. August says:

    Byatt’s novel is the only one of these to catch my interest so far, but I have a hard time imagining her topping Still Life. Her work seems to have hit a wall after The Biographer’s Tale. It doesn’t seem to have the same life to it anymore.

  4. red-handed says:

    Ah, William Trevor … the grand old man of short stories. Nice to see him there. I think the list is more of a corrective, more wishful thinking, than anything else.

  5. The A.S. is filled with vivd descriptions (particularly about pots and pantomime costumes), but why did she try to pour the history of the world from 1895 to 1920 into 600 pages. Everything is there, including an ending in the trenches of World War I.

    Byatt should have allowed herself to be edited so our eyes are focused on her characters and their singular accomplishments. If I wanted to know about the the period between 1895 and the end of WWI I would have read history, perhaps Barbara Tuchman’s excellent The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World before the War.

    I read the novel quickly–there is much that is engaging, some moments are brilliant—but what I would give for reading the same book with 100 pages cut from it! That would be something for the ages.

    As it is I suspect the very fact that it’s on the long list is going to encourage other writers to natter on and on.