‘Man Booker Dozen’ Revealed: The Prize Announces Its 2017 Longlist

In News by Porter Anderson

Last year’s winner, Paul Beatty’s ‘The Sellout,’ has sold rights into 26 foreign languages, 19 of them since he won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, say organizers.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

The Leading Prize for English Literary Fiction
This year’s Man Booker Prize for Fiction longlist of 13 titles has been announced in London on Thursday (July 27). The list includes four UK authors, four US authors, two Irish writers, two Pakistani novelists, and one Indian author. Two honorees are named Smith.

Also on the list are three first-time novelists and Arundhati Roy—her second chance at the Man Booker since she won in 1997.

The jury chair is Baroness Lola Young, and the judges of the coveted prize are critic Lila Azam Zanganeh; Man Booker shortlisted novelist Sarah Hall; Tom Phillips, CBE RA; and writer Colin Thubron, CBE.

Prize organizers report receiving 144 submissions of works published in the UK between October 1 last year and 30 September. First awarded in 1969, the prize is open to writers of any nationality. They must write in English and be published in the United Kingdom.

The Man Booker’s shortlist of six books is scheduled to be announced on September 13. Shortlisted authors receive £2,500 (US$3,275). The winner is then scheduled to be announced on October 17.

The program reports that when Paul Beatty won the 2016 prize—the first American to do so, for his The Sellout—the book’s sales increased 658 percent in the week following the announcement.

Beatty’s win didn’t come without controversy. The prize rules were changed in late 2013 to open up eligibility to writers beyond the UK and the Commonwealth, to which territories it had been limited until then.

2017 Man Booker Prize for Fiction Longlist
  • Paul Auster (US) 4 3 2 1 (Faber & Faber)
  • Sebastian Barry (Ireland) Days Without End (Faber & Faber)
  • Emily Fridlund (US) History of Wolves (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
  • Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan-UK) Exit West (Hamish Hamilton)
  • Mike McCormack (Ireland) Solar Bones (Canongate)
  • Jon McGregor (UK) Reservoir 13 (4th Estate)
  • Fiona Mozley (UK) Elmet (JM Originals)
  • Arundhati Roy (India) The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness (Hamish Hamilton)
  • George Saunders (US) Lincoln in the Bardo (Bloomsbury)
  • Kamila Shamsie (UK-Pakistan) Home Fire (Bloomsbury)
  • Ali Smith (UK) Autumn (Hamish Hamilton)
  • Zadie Smith (UK) Swing Time (Hamish Hamilton)
  • Colson Whitehead (US) The Underground Railroad (Fleet)

The three authors longlisted for debut novels are Mozley for Elmet, Fridlund for History of Wolves, and Saunders for Lincoln in the Bardo. (Here’s a story from February about the making of The New York Times’ virtual-reality evocation of the Saunders piece.)

Four of the authors on this year’s longlist have previously been shorlisted: Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, Barry, and Hamid. McGregor is making his third longlist appearance.

Three independent publishers are well represented, as well: Edinburgh’s Canongate is the publisher of the McCormack book; Faber & Faber publishes the Barry and the Auster novels; Bloomsbury has published the Saunders and Shamsie books. Penguin Random House’s Hamish Hamilton is the lead publisher of longlisted titles, with four: the Hamid, the Roy, the Ali Smith and the Zadie Smith.

In a prepared statement, Young, the jury chair, is quoted, saying that the diversity of the list is particularly promising, defined by a spectrum “not only of voices and literary styles but of protagonists, too, in their culture, age, and gender.”

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.