Thirteen fiction writers make up the long list for the 2013 Man Booker Prize, which was announced this week in London. The winner of the prize—one of the most prestigious awards in literary fiction—will receive 50,000 British pounds, or approximately $75,000.
This year's so-called “Booker’s Dozen” includes Five Star Billionaire (Fourth Estate) by Tash Aw, We Need New Names (Reagan Arthur Books) by NoViolet Bulawayo, The Luminaries (Granta) by Eleanor Catton, Harvest (Picador) by Jim Crace, The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Sandstone Press) by Eve Harris, The Kills (Picador) by Richard House, The Lowland (Bloomsbury) by Jhumpa Lahiri, Unexploded (Hamish Hamilton) by Alison MacLeod, TransAtlantic (Bloomsbury) by Colum McCann, Almost English (Mantle) by Charlotte Mendelson, A Tale for the Time Being (Canongate) by Ruth Ozeki, The Spinning Heart (Doubleday Ireland) by Donal Ryan, and The Testament of Mary (Viking) by Colm Tóibín.
According to the announcement on the Booker Prize Foundation website, this year’s judges—Robert MacFarlane, Martha Kearney, Stuart Kelly, Natalie Haynes, and Robert Douglas-Fairhurst—read 151 books, and “have found works of the greatest quality in places as distant from one another as Zimbabwe and New Zealand, Canada and Malaysia and from writers at the start of their careers (Eleanor Catton, aged 28, whose book The Luminaries weighs in at a whopping 832 pages) to those who have been at the writing game for many years (Jim Crace, aged 67)—and every stage in between.”
Seven of the long-listed books are written by women, three are debuts, and only Crace and Tóibín are previous Booker finalists.
Founded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is given annually for a book of fiction published in the previous year and written by a citizen of the United Kingdom, the British Commonwealth, or the Republic of Ireland. Hilary Mantel took the 2012 prize for her novel Bring Up the Bodies, the second installment of her acclaimed Tudor trilogy; the first, Wolf Hall, won the prize in 2009.
A shortlist will be announced September 10 and the winner on October 15. In the meantime, check out an excerpt from finalist NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names, featured as part of the annual first fiction roundup in the current issue of Poets & Writers Magazine, and an essay by Ruth Ozeki—about the creation of her long-listed novel and the relationship between readers, writers, and characters—which appeared in the May/June issue.