Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Man Booker Prize 2011 Shortlist

The shortlist for the Man Booker Prize 2011 has just been announced – and this year’s choices are somewhat, er, contentious, to say the least.

While the inclusion of perpetual Booker bridesmaid, Julian Barnes, for his novel, The Sense of An Ending, was widely expected, other hot favourites have been controversially dropped, including Sebastian Barry’s On Canaan’s Side and Alan Hollinghurst’s highly praised The Stranger’s Child.

The shortlist features four British and two Canadian novelists (only authors from the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland and Zimbabwe are eligible for the prize, thereby omitting American authors)

The most surprising feature of this year’s shortlist is the inclusion of two debut authors - Stephen Kelman for Pigeon English and AD Miller for Snowdrops.

The full shortlist is as follows (whittled down from 13 longlisted titles):

Julian Barnes The Sense of an Ending (Jonathan Cape)
Carol Birch Jamrach’s Menagerie (Canongate Books)
Patrick deWitt The Sisters Brothers (Granta)
Esi Edugyan Half Blood Blues (Serpent’s Tail)
Stephen Kelman Pigeon English (Bloomsbury Books)
AD Miller Snowdrops (Atlantic Books)

(Pigeon English has been reviewed on this blog, as has Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan, links below.
**Spoiler alert**: Thumbs up for Pigeon English, resounding thumbs down for Edugyan's offering.)

Those who did not make the cut:

Sebastian Barry On Canaan's Side (Faber)
Yvette Edwards A Cupboard Full of Coats (Oneworld)
Alan Hollinghurst The Stranger's Child (Picador - Pan Macmillan)
Patrick McGuinness The Last Hundred Days (Seren Books)
Alison Pick Far to Go (Headline Review)
Jane Rogers The Testament of Jessie Lamb (Sandstone Press)
D.J. Taylor Derby Day (Chatto & Windus - Random House)

The winner of the 2011 Prize will be announced at a reception at London’s Guildhall on Tuesday, October 18th. The winner will receive a cash prize of £50,000, while the other shortlisted nominees will each get £2,500 with a designer-bound edition of the book.

Julian Barnes
For what it’s worth, my money is on Julian Barnes – The Sense of an Ending is his fourth appearance on a Booker longlist, so surely a win for him is long overdue. But, given the unpredictability of this year’s judging panel, who knows what will happen on the night!

Review of Pigeon English:
Review of Half Blood Blues: http://lovelifefoodart.blogspot.com/2011/08/half-blood-blues-by-esi-edugyan-missed.html

UPDATE: And the winner is ... Julian Barnes for A Sense of an Ending.

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