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.

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Man Booker Longlist Announced Today

h_logo_official_largeThe longlist, or ‘Man Booker Dozen’, for the Man Booker Prize has been announced today, Wednesday 29 July 2015.

This year’s longlist of 13 books was selected by a panel of five judges chaired by Michael Wood, and also comprising Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, John Burnside, Sam Leith and Frances Osborne. The judges considered 156 books for this year’s prize.

This is the second year that the prize, first awarded in 1969, has been open to writers of any nationality, writing originally in English and published in the UK.  Previously, the prize was open only to authors from the UK & Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.

The 2015 longlist of 13 novels, is:

Bill Clegg – Did You Ever Have a Family (Jonathan Cape)            

Anne Enright – The Green Road (Jonathan Cape)

Marlon James – A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld Publications)

Laila Lalami – The Moor’s Account (Periscope, Garnet Publishing)

Tom McCarthy – Satin Island (Jonathan Cape)

Chigozie Obioma – The Fishermen (ONE, Pushkin Press)

Andrew O’Hagan – The Illuminations (Faber & Faber)

Marilynne Robinson – Lila (Virago)            

Anuradha Roy – Sleeping on Jupiter (MacLehose Press, Quercus)

Sunjeev Sahota – The Year of the Runaways (Picador)

Anna Smaill – The Chimes (Sceptre)

Anne Tyler – A Spool of Blue Thread (Chatto & Windus)

Hanya Yanagihara – A Little Life (Picador)

 

The shortlist of six books will be announced on Tuesday 15 September at a press conference at the London offices of Man Group, the prize’s sponsor.

The 2015 winner will then be announced on Tuesday 13 October in London’s Guildhall at a black-tie dinner that brings together the shortlisted authors and well-known figures from the literary world. The ceremony will be broadcast by the BBC and the lucky winner will leave with a cheque for £50,000.

 

 

Congratulations to Richard Flanagan on winning the @ManBookerPrize

The narrow road to the deep northRichard Flanagan, considered by many to be one of Australia’s finest novelists, was last night announced as the winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’.

Born in Tasmania, he is the third Australian author to win the coveted prize, which now includes entries from writers of all nationalities, writing originally in English and published in the UK.

Other previous Australian winners are Thomas Kenneally for Schindler’s Ark and Peter Carey  for Oscar & Lucinda, 1988 and The True History of the Kelly Gang, 2001

The Narrow Road to the Deep North is his sixth novel and centres upon the experiences of surgeon Dorrigo Evans in a Japanese POW camp on the now infamous Thailand-Burma railway. The Financial Times calls it ‘elegantly wrought, measured and without an ounce of melodrama… nothing short of a masterpiece.’

Named after a famous Japanese book by the haiku poet Basho, The Narrow Road to the Deep North is described by the 2014 judges as ‘a harrowing account of the cost of war to all who are caught up in it’. Questioning the meaning of heroism, the book explores what motivates acts of extreme cruelty and shows that perpetrators may be as much victims as those they abuse. The author’s father, who died the day he finished The Narrow Road to the Deep North, was a survivor of the Burma Death Railway.

Chair of the judges, AC Grayling announced the result at London’s Guildhall. The event was broadcast live on the BBC and Flanagan was presented with a trophy by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall together with a £50,000 cheque from Emmanuel Roman, Chief Executive of Man Group.  AC Grayling said: ‘The two great themes from the origin of literature are love and war: this is a magnificent novel of love and war. Written in prose of extraordinary elegance and force, it bridges East and West, past and present, with a story of guilt and heroism. ‘This is the book that Richard Flanagan was born to write.’

Several copies of Flanagan’s book are on order; if you want to read the shortlist, titles as follows:

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

J by Howard Jacobson

The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

How to be Both by Ali Smith

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Man Booker Prize Shortlist

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2014 shortlist of six books has now been revealed! They’re all in stock, links below. Be the first to read them.
 

Paul O’Rourke, 40 year-old slightly curmudgeonly dentist, runs a thriving practice in New York. Yet he is discovering he needs more in his life than a steady income and the perfect mochaccino. But what?

As Paul tries to work out the meaning of life, a Facebook page and Twitter account appear in his name. What’s at first an outrageous violation of privacy soon becomes something more frightening: the possibility that the online “Paul” might be a better version of the man in the flesh. Who is doing this and will it cost Paul his sanity?

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

A love story unfolding over half a century between a doctor and his uncle’s wife. Taking its title from one of the most famous books in Japanese literature, written by the great haiku poet Basho, Flanagan’s novel has as its heart one of the most infamous episodes of Japanese history, the construction of the Thailand-Burma Death Railway in World War II.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

As a child, Rosemary used to talk all the time. So much so that her parents used to tell her to start in the middle if she wanted to tell a story. Now Rosemary has just started college and she barely talks at all. And she definitely doesn’t talk about her family.

J by Howard Jacobson

Set in the future, a world where the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited,J is a love story of incomparable strangeness, both tender and terrifying.

The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

Calcutta, 1967. Unnoticed by his family, Supratik has become dangerously involved in extremist political activism. Compelled by an idealistic desire to change his life and the world around him, all he leaves behind before disappearing is this note…

 

How to be Both by Ali Smith

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.

 

Chair of the 2014 judges, AC Grayling, commented on behalf of the judges:

‘We are delighted to announce our international shortlist. As the Man Booker Prize expands its borders, these six exceptional books take the reader on journeys around the world, between the UK, New York, Thailand, Italy, Calcutta and times past, present and future.

‘We had a lengthy and intensive debate to whittle the list down to these six.  It is a strong, thought-provoking shortlist which we believe demonstrates the wonderful depth and range of contemporary fiction in English.’

Man Booker favourite – The Bone Clocks

Do you fancy reading the hot favourite for the Man Booker prize this year? The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (great cover) is currently the bookies’ favourite.

You can also tune in to an interview with him on Radio 2 Book Club 8 September

More about the author

Back in 2004 David Mitchell wrote The Cloud Atlas  an interwoven story  5 star rated by readers. The new book is his sixth novel about a teenage runaway and more:

One drowsy summer’s day in 1984, teenage runaway Holly Sykes encounters a strange woman who offers a small kindness in exchange for ‘asylum’. Decades will pass before Holly understands exactly what sort of asylum the woman was seeking . . .

The Bone Clocksfollows the twists and turns of Holly’s life from a scarred adolescence in Gravesend to old age on Ireland’s Atlantic coast as Europe’s oil supply dries up – a life not so far out of the ordinary, yet punctuated by flashes of precognition, visits from people who emerge from thin air and brief lapses in the laws of reality.

For Holly Sykes – daughter, sister, mother, guardian – is also an unwitting player in a murderous feud played out in the shadows and margins of our world, and may prove to be its decisive weapon. Metaphysical thriller, meditation on mortality and chronicle of our self-devouring times, this kaleidoscopic novel crackles with the invention and wit that have made David Mitchell one of the most celebrated writers of his generation. Here is fiction at its most spellbinding and memorable best

Have you read any of the Man Booker prize long list?

The Man Booker Prize Long list has been announced. The Leeds favourite is History of the Rain – Niall Williams – 3 readers gave this 5 stars.  

Neel Mukherjee’s The Lives of Others  is also very popular.

Odds on the other contenders vary quite a lot this year. Mukherjee is 3/1 at Ladbrokes but 10/1 at William Hill. O’Neill, William Hill’s 4/1 favourite, is rated only 12/1 by the others.  Wm Hill offers 20/1 on Joshua Ferris, compared to 8/1 at its rivals. Flanagan’s chances vary a lot: 4/1 favourite at Paddy Power, but a 16/1 with Hustvedt and David Nicholls at Ladbrokes.

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour – Joshua Ferris 

The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Richard Flanagan

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler

The Blazing World – Siri Hustvedt 

 J – Howard Jacobson 

The Wake – Paul Kingsnorth

The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell

Us – David Nicholls

The Dog – Joseph O’Neill 

Orfeo – Richard Powers

How to be Both – Ali Smith

Eleanor Catton Booker prize winner and other young authors

cattonEleanor Catton is only 28 and has scored a win in the Man Booker prize- in fact she is the youngest winner ever. The book ‘The Luminaries is in stock if you haven’t read it, here’s the synopsis –

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky

Here’s a lovely article in the Guardian book blog  about some other young authors who made an early big impression. From Emily Bronte to D H Lawrence and Dickens a lot of the greats started young !