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2015 Man Booker Prize Longlist Revealed – Just One African Novel Makes the Cut

 
Alert! The longlist for the 2015 Man Booker Prize has been announced.

There are 13 authors on the list this year, but disappointingly just one from Africa: Chigozie Obioma, for The Fishermen.

Laila Lalami – longlisted for The Moor’s Account, the imagined memoirs of a Moroccan slave who was the first black explorer of America – is identified as being a United States national by the Prize, although she was born in Rabat, Morocco.

Traditionally, the Man Booker Prize was open to authors from the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the Commonwealth, and Zimbabwe. However, in September 2013 it was announced that the 2014 edition of the prize would be open to American writers for the first time.

The FishermenDid You Ever Have A FamilyThe Green RoadA Brief History of Seven KillingsThe Moor's AccountSatin Island

The IlluminationsLilaSleeping on JupiterThe Year of the RunawaysThe ChimesA Spool of Blue ThreadA Little Life

The 2015 longlist, or Man Booker “Dozen”, of 13 novels, is:

Press release:

Man Booker Prize announces 2015 longlist
29 July 2015

The longlist, or ‘Man Booker Dozen’, for the £50,000 Man Booker Prize is 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.

Chair of the 2015 judges, Michael Wood, comments:

‘We had a great time choosing this list. Discussions weren’t always peaceful, but they were always very friendly. We were lucky in our companions and the submissions were extraordinary. The longlist could have been twice as long, but we’re more than happy with our final choice.

‘The range of different performances and forms of these novels is amazing. All of them do something exciting with the language they have chosen to use.’

The judges were struck by the international spectrum of the novels, with the longlist featuring three British writers, five US writers and one apiece from the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, India, Nigeria and Jamaica. Marlon James, who currently lives in Minneapolis, is the first Jamaican-born author to be nominated for the prize. Laila Lalami, now based in Santa Monica but born in Rabat, is the first Moroccan-born.

One former winner, Anne Enright, is longlisted. The Irish writer won the prize in 2007 with The Gathering. She is joined by two formerly shortlisted British writers: Tom McCarthy (2010, C) and Andrew O’Hagan (1999, Our Fathers, and longlisted for Be Near Me, 2006). US author Marilynne Robinson has been shortlisted for Man Booker International Prize twice, in 2011 and 2013.

There are three debut novelists on the list: Bill Clegg, Chigozie Obioma and Anna Smaill.

Four independent publishers are on the list, with Garnet Publishing and Pushkin Press appearing for the first time.

The shortlist and winner announcements

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.

The leading prize for quality fiction in English

First awarded in 1969, the prize is recognised as the leading prize for high quality literary fiction written in English. Its list of winners features many of the literary giants of the last four decades: from Salman Rushdie to Hilary Mantel, Iris Murdoch to Ian McEwan.

The rules of the prize changed at the end of 2013, to embrace the English language ‘in all its vigour, its vitality, its versatility and its glory’, opening up to writers beyond the UK and Commonwealth. Salman Rushdie commented at the time: ‘I think it’s a really great thing that finally we’ve got an English language prize that doesn’t make a distinction for writers who are writing from a particular country.’

Earlier this month the Booker Prize Foundation also announced a change to the Man Booker International Prize, which has become an annual award celebrating fiction in translation. The newly configured prize will focus on the finest in translated fiction published in the UK, and sees an increased annual prize purse of £52,000, which will be split equally between the winning author and translator.

Winning the Man Booker Prize

The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. The winner will receive a further £50,000 and can expect international recognition. Last year’s winning novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, has sold 300,000 copies in the UK and almost 800,000 worldwide.

Following her second win in 2012, Hilary Mantel topped the UK Nielsen BookScan chart with the sales of Bring up the Bodies, her sequel to Wolf Hall which won in 2009. Sales of her winning novels together exceeded a million copies in their UK editions. The BBC’s television adaptation and the theatre adaptations by the Royal Shakespeare Company of both novels have been widely praised. Other winning novels have gone on to have second or third lives as stage and screen adaptations; examples include Schindler’s Ark (directed by Steven Spielberg as Schindler’s List), The Remains of the Day and The English Patient.

Ends

Image courtesy of David Caines

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