The longlist for the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction was announced this morning. The annual prize of £50,000 (approximately $78,142) honors the best book of fiction written in English and published in United Kingdom during the previous year. This year, the list of thirteen semifinalists includes five writers from the United States: Bill Clegg, Laila Lalami, Marilynne Robinson, Anne Tyler, and Hanya Yanagihara. Writers from Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, India, Nigeria, and Jamaica complete the list.
The longlisted titles are Did You Ever Have a Family (Jonathan Cape) by Bill Clegg; The Green Road (Jonathan Cape) by Anne Enright, who won the 2007 Man Booker Prize for her novel The Gathering; A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld Publications) by Marlon James; The Moor’s Account (Periscope, Garnet Publishing) by Laila Lalami; Satin Island (Jonathan Cape) by Tom McCarthy; The Fishermen (ONE, Pushkin Press) by Chigozie Obioma; The Illuminations (Faber & Faber) by Andrew O’Hagan; Lila (Virago) by Marilynne Robinson; Sleeping on Jupiter (MacLehose Press, Quercus) by Anuradha Roy; The Year of the Runaways (Picador) by Sunjeev Sahota; The Chimes (Sceptre) by Anna Smaill; A Spool of Blue Thread (Chatto & Windus) by Anne Tyler; and A Little Life (Picador) by Hanya Yanagihara.
The judges—Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, John Burnside, Sam Leith, Frances Osborne, and Michael Wood—selected the thirteen titles from a list of 156 books. “The range of different performances and forms of these novels is amazing,” said Wood, chair of the judging panel. “All of them do something exciting with the language they have chosen to use.” Three of the semifinalists—Bill Clegg, Chigozie Obioma, and Anna Smaill—are debut novelists. The shortlist will be announced on September 15, and the winner will be named at a ceremony in London on October 13.
First awarded in 1969, the prize was originally restricted to writers from the British Commonwealth nations and Ireland. This is the second year that the prize has been open to writers of any nationality writing in English. Previous winners include Salman Rushdie, Hilary Mantel, and Richard Flanagan, who received the 2014 prize for his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North. To date, Flanagan’s book has sold almost eight hundred thousand copies worldwide.
The Man Booker Foundation also administers the Man Booker International Prize; the foundation announced earlier this month that beginning in 2016, the Man Booker International Prize and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize will merge to form one annual award for a single work of fiction translated into English. The winning author and translator of the reconfigured Man Booker International Prize will equally split a purse of £52,000.
Photos: Top row from left: Hanya Yanagihara, Marilynne Robinson, Bill Clegg. Bottom row from left: Laila Lalami, Anne Tyler.