A year after Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries took the prize from a majority female shortlist, the Man Booker Prize committee have unveiled this year’s longlist, and 2013’s calls of Year of the Women already seem like a distant memory, with 3 women in a list of 13.
With the prize now open to all authors who publish in English rather than Ireland and Commonwealth only nations, many critics feared the field would become dominated with Americans. As it is, there are 4, with the majority of nominees being British or Irish, and one hailing from Australia. The distinct lack of other Commonwealth shortlisters does no favours to the Man Booker supporters who insisted opening the award up to American authors would lead to the omission of writers from less literary dominant nations.
This year’s chair of the judging committee, A.C. Grayling, declared it a “vintage year”, one where the category is as interesting for who has not been included as much as who has – Pulitzer Prize winner Donna Tartt is absent from the field, as are favourites like Sarah Waters, Will Self, Ian McEwen, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Irvine Welsh. Howard Jacobson is the only longlisted author who has previously won the prize (J has yet to be published), although other short-listed authors include David Mitchell, for his upcoming novel The Bone Clocks, and Ali Smith for How To Be Both.
At the time of this post’s publication, bookies Ladbrokes had 2/1 odds of an American winning, although it is the Brit Neel Mukerjee who has the highest odds of taking the prize and £50,000 cheque with The Lives of Others. The shortlist of 6 will be announced in September, with the awards ceremony taking place on the 14th October.
The Man Booker 2014 Longlist.
Joshua Ferris (US) – To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Richard Flanagan (Australia) – The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Karen Joy Fowler (US) – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Siri Hustvedt (US) – The Blazing World
Howard Jacobson (Britain) – J
Paul Kingsnorth (Britain) – The Wake
David Mitchell (Britain) – The Bone Clocks
Neel Mukherjee (Britain) – The Lives of Others
David Nicholls (Britain) – Us
Joseph O’Neill (Ireland) – The Dog
Richard Powers (US) – Orfeo
Ali Smith (Britain) – How to Be Both
Niall Williams (Ireland) – History of the Rain