Man Booker Award 2017 – Shortlist announced

The Man Booker Prize is the most well known literary award in the English speaking world, and has brought recognition and reward to outstanding fiction for over four decades. Each year, the prize is awarded to what is, in the opinion of the judges, the best novel of the year written in English and published in the UK. It is a prize that can transform the winner’s career.

The prize winner receives £50,000 as well as the £2,500 awarded to each of the six shortlisted authors. Both the winner and the shortlisted authors are guaranteed a worldwide readership plus a dramatic increase in book sales.

The shortlisted books, and their lucky authors who each receive that £2,500 have been announced today. The overall winner will be announced on the 17th October 2017.

Which one will be your winner and will you agree with the judges?

Booker 43214 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths.

Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Chapter by chapter, the rotating narratives evolve into an elaborate dance of inner worlds enfolded within the outer forces of history as, one by one, the intimate plots of the four Fergusons’ stories rush on across the tumultuous and fractured terrain of mid-20th century America. A boy grows up – again and again and again.

Booker History of WolvesHistory of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

Linda, age 14, lives on a dying commune on the edge of a lake in the Midwest of America. She and her parents are the last remaining inhabitants, the others having long since left amid bitter acrimony. She has grown up isolated both by geography and her understanding of the world, and is an outsider at school, regarded as a freak.

One day she notices the arrival of a young family in a cabin on the opposite side of the lake. She starts to befriend them, first their four-year-old son Paul, and then his young mother Patra, who is also lonely and isolated. For the first time she feels a sense of belonging that has been missing from her life.

Leo, the father, is a university professor and an enigmatic figure, perpetually absent. When he returns home, Linda is shunned by the family unit. Desperate to be accepted again, she struggles to resume her place in their home and fails to see the terrible warning signals, which have such devastating consequences.

Booker Exit WestExit West by Mohsin Hamid

In a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war, Saeed and Nadia lock eyes across their classroom. After a while, they talk, he makes her smile and they start to fall in love. They try not to notice the sound of bombs getting closer every night, the radio announcing new laws, the curfews and the public executions.

Eventually the problem is too big to ignore: it’s not safe for Nadia to live alone and she must move in with Saeed, even though they are not married, and that too is a problem. Meanwhile, rumours are spreading of strange black doors in secret places across the city, doors that lead to London or San Francisco, Greece or Dubai. One day soon the time will come for Nadia and Saeed to seek out one such door, joining the great outpouring of those fleeing a collapsing city, hoping against hope, looking for their place in the world.

Booker ElmetElmet by Fiona Mozley

Daniel is heading north. He is looking for someone. The simplicity of his early life with Daddy and Cathy has turned sour and fearful. They lived apart in the house that Daddy built for them with his bare hands. They foraged and hunted. When they were younger, Daniel and Cathy had gone to school. But they were not like the other children then, and they were even less like them now. Sometimes Daddy disappeared, and would return with a rage in his eyes. But when he was at home he was at peace. He told them that the little copse in Elmet was theirs alone. But that wasn’t true. Local men, greedy and watchful, began to circle like vultures. All the while, the terrible violence in Daddy grew.

Elmet is a lyrical commentary on contemporary English society and one family’s precarious place in it, as well as an exploration of how deep the bond between father and child can go.

Booker LincolnLincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

On 22 February 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln is laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, his father Abraham arrives at the cemetery, alone, under cover of darkness.

Over the course of that evening, Abraham Lincoln paces the graveyard unsettled by the death of his beloved boy, and by the grim shadow of a war that feels as though it is without end. Meanwhile Willie is trapped in a state of limbo between the dead and the living – drawn to his father with whom he can no longer communicate, existing in a ghostly world populated by the recently passed and the long dead.

Unfolding in the graveyard over a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief and the deeper meaning and possibilities of life.

Booker AutumnAutumn by Ali Smith

How about Autumn 2016? Daniel is a century old. Elisabeth, born in 1984, has her eye on the future. The United Kingdom is in pieces, divided by a historic once-in-a-generation summer.

Autumn is a meditation on a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, on what harvest means. This first in a seasonal quartet casts an eye over our own time. Who are we? What are we made of? Shakespearian jeu d’esprit, Keatsian melancholy, the sheer bright energy of 1960s Pop art: the centuries cast their eyes over our own history-making.

From the imagination of Ali Smith comes a shape-shifting series, wide-ranging in timescale and light-footed through histories, and a story about ageing and time and love and stories themselves.

Advertisements

Congratulations to Ali Smith wins the @Goldsmithsprize

How to be both

All great works of literature either dissolve a genre or invent one’ (Walter Benjamin)

 ‘I have laid a plan for something new, quite out of the beaten track’ (Laurence Sterne)

 Novel, n. Something new (OED)

Ali Smith has won the Goldsmiths Prize, which is worth £10,00 and is awarded for “boldly original” fiction for her two-partIn the light of what we know novel ‘How to be both’ (she lost out to Richard Flanagan on the shortlist for this year’s Man Booker.)

Winning the The Goldsmiths prize made it two wins in two days as Ali also won the Literary Book of the Year award at the Saltire Literary Awards on 11th November.

Francis Spufford, chair of the judges said: “We are proud to give this year’s Goldsmiths Prize to a book which confirms that formal innovation is completely compatible with pleasure – that it can be, in fact, a renewal of the writer’s compact with the reader to delight and astonish.”

Ali Smith said “I can’t believe this is happening. I think I might be making it up,” before thanking publisher Simon Prosser and publicist Anna Ridley.

Others shortlisted were:

The award was created by Goldsmiths, University of London, in association with the New Statesman, to recognise published fiction “that opens up new possibilities for the novel form.” The inaugural winner was Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing and it was the first prize for the author ahead of her Baileys, Desmond Elliott and Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year victories.

How to be both by Ali Smith

How to be bothAli Smith’s book ‘Girl meets Boy’ was incredibly well rated by Leeds readers. Now her new book ‘How to be both’ is a little bit unusual in that there are two versions of the novel. It’s on the Man Booker longlist (it’s 7/1 second favourite behind the Bone Clocks by David Mitchell)  and if you read it,  your version might begin with George,  an eccentric teen mourning the recent death of her free thinking mother, who had previously taken her daughter to Italy to see frescos by Francesco del Cossa.

Or it might begin with del Cossa who in a  time bending way can observe George from a distance. George has a sense of being watched and is obsessed by surveillance. It tells the same story from different perspectives. ……How to be both

‘How to be both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real – and all life’s givens get given a second chance.’