I’m excited that the Man Booker Prize Longlist for 2013 has been announced today (and you can get to know the novels at the Guardian’s website, here). The novels make up what has been described as the most eclectic longlist ever, and there are many new names on the list as well as few more familiar and established writers. I am looking forward to starting to read and review them again, as I found it a really rewarding experience last year: one that made me read books I might not otherwise have read, learn new things about modern writing, and engage with other readers, too.
Tash Aw, Five Star Billionaire (Fourth Estate)
NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names (Chatto & Windus)
Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries (Granta)
Eve Harris, The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Sandstone Press)
Richard House, The Kills (Picador)
Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland (Bloomsbury)
Alison MacLeod, Unexploded (Hamish Hamilton)
Colum McCann, TransAtlantic (Bloomsbury)
Charlotte Mendelson, Almost English (Mantle)
Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being (Canongate)
Donal Ryan, The Spinning Heart (Doubleday Ireland)
Colm Tóibín, The Testament of Mary (Viking)
I will be starting with The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin (as that was available in my local Waterstones), and am already looking forward to getting stuck in. The chair of judges, Robert MacFarlane, seems excited by the breadth and range of the novels chosen, and the judges, having read through over 150 novels, seem to have come up with a list which is short on the literary heavyweights – perhaps intentionally; and this is not necessarily a bad thing. The judges – Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, Natalie Haynes, Martha Kearney and Stuart Kelly – seem to be come from either academic or journalistic backgrounds, but are bound to have very different tastes; I’d love to be privy to the discussions which whittled the full list down to this longlist!
The dates for this year are:
23 July 2013 – Longlist announcement;
10 September 2013 – Shortlist announcement;
15 October 2013 – Winner announcement.