Monday, 17 September 2012

Man Booker Prize 2012 - Shortlist Announced

The literary awards season is definitely upon us!

Hot on the heels of the announcement of the Wellcome Trust Book Prize longlist (see below), the judges of the Man Booker 2012 prize last week revealed their six shortlisted titles.

And the nominees are:

-          Will Self, Umbrella, (Bloomsbury)
-          Hilary Mantel, Bring Up The Bodies, (Fourth Estate)
-          Deborah Levy, Swimming Home, (And Other Stories)
-          Jeet Thayil, Nacropolis, (Faber & Faber)
-          Alison Moore, The Lighthouse, (Salt Publishing)
-          Tan Twan Eng, The Garden of Evening Mists, (Myrmidon ) 

Analysis at a glance:

-          Two of the shortlisted titles are debut novels, The Lighthouse and Nacropolis.

-          Three of the final six titles are published by small, independent houses or a not-for-private-profit publisher (Salt, Myrmidon, And Other Stories).

-          Despite the fact he is one of the UK’s most highly regarded and prolific authors, this is the first time a novel by Will Self has featured on a Man Booker shortlist,

-          Bring Up The Bodies is the much-anticipated sequel to the 2009 Man Booker winner, Wolf Hall. Can Hilary Mantel make history by ‘doing the double’?

-          Perhaps the most controversial exclusion was Michael Frayn’s Skios – once thought to be a contender to win the prize, the fact that this book failed to graduate from longlist to shortlist surprised many commentators.

So, who is likely to win the £50,000 prize?  Currently the two big hitters, Mantel and Self, are hotly tipped.  However, this year’s panel has already proven that they are not influenced by established literary reputations (Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith and Martin Amis all failed to make their longlist) – so this is one competition that is definitely still up for grabs.

The winner will be unveiled at a ceremony at the Guildhall on Tuesday, October 16th.

For a brief description of all the shortlisted books, and to find out what the judges had to say about them, click here:  

Update (17 Oct 2012): Hilary Mantel pipped Will Self at the post to take home the prize.  The win makes Mantel the first woman (and the first Briton) to do the Booker double.  The only other novelists to win the award twice are Peter Carey (Australian) and JM Coetzee (South African).  Well done, Hilary!

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