Introducing the Man Booker Prize 2017 Longlist

 The Man Booker Prize longlist for 2017 has been announced! The list is comprised of 13 novels chosen from a list of 144 novels published (or soon to be published) in the UK between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017. Here’s the list!

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Solar Bones by Mike McCormack

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

Elmet by Fiona Mozley

The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Autumn by Ali Smith

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The judges this year were Baroness Lola Young (chair), Lila Azam Zanganeh, Sarah Hall, Tom Phillips, and Colin Thubron. The shortlist will be released on September 13th and the winner on October 17th. The winner receives £50,000.

Some thoughts on the list:

  • The gender balance is as even as you can make it with 13 books: seven men and six women.
  • Five of the authors are people of color, making this a pretty diverse list, especially compared to last year when there were only three.
  • There are four Americans (Americans were considered for the prize only beginning in 2013), five from the UK, two from Ireland, two with citizenship in Pakistan and the UK, and one from India.
  • The Man Booker Prize website provides some more stats: the list contains one previous Booker Prize winner (Arundhati Roy), four previously shortlisted writers (Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, Sebastian Barry, and Mohsin Hamid), and one previously longlisted author (Jon McGregor). The list contains three debut novelists: Fiona Mozley, Emily Fridlund, and George Saunders (although Saunders has published several short story collections).

My personal take: I have read only one from the list: the Zadie Smith, a book I enjoyed very much, although I thought it had some flaws. I am not at all surprised to see Mohsin Hamid, Arundhati Roy, George Saunders, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, or Colson Whitehead here. That makes nearly half of the books on the list ones I might have guessed, a fairly safe group. Paul Auster and Sebastian Barry are well-known authors and ones I’m familiar with, although their books this year were not ones on my radar. The remaining authors are new to me, and names I’m looking forward to hearing more about.

Any books on the list you are rooting for or are interested in reading?

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