Man Booker 2009 shortlist emphasizes big names

September 8, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

The 2009 Man Booker Prize shortlist has been announced, and it’s long on heavy hitters. Coetzee, Byatt, and Waters are all present and accounted for; James Laxer, author of the satiric mock memoir Me Cheeta and Canada’s own Ed O’Loughlin were cut.

The list in full:

The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt
Summertime by J.M. Coetzee
The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
The Glass Room by Simon Mawer
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

The list is not much of a corrective to Boyd Tonkin’s complaint that this year’s nominees are highly anglocentric and lack a certain adventurousness. Three of the six (Byatt, Coetzee, and Waters) are veterans of the Booker list; Byatt won in 1990 for Possession and Coetzee has won twice, in 1999 for Disgrace and in 1983 for The Life & Times of Michael K. The £50,000 prize will be awarded on October 6.

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.