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July 31, 2013

Mixed response to Man Booker longlist


booker-longlist-2013-smaller-pic  By Joshua Farrington

The newly released Man Booker Prize longlist has been praised by the media for its diversity, but criticised for missing several big names and including multiple titles that have yet to be published.

The Guardian praised the judges, and said: “This is a jury not afraid to be experimental.”

It commended the scope of the longlist and said: “The longlist casts a wide net in terms of both geography and time, ranging from the slimmest of novels—Colm Tóibín’s stark, surprising The Testament of Mary conjures the gospel according to Jesus’s mother in a mere 100-odd pages—to vast doorstops, playful with genre and form.”

The Daily Mail focused on authors it saw as being “snubbed” from the Booker list, describing the nominated authors as “obscure . . . mostly unknown”. It said: “This year’s longlist is notable for the number of big-name authors who have been overlooked, including J M Coetzee, Roddy Doyle and Margaret Atwood. Five of the books have yet to be published.”

The Daily Mail also quoted Alex Donohue of bookmaker Ladbrokes, which has appointed Jim Crace as the current favourite at 9/2.

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July 30, 2012

The Man Booker 2012 longlist tells a story about the landscape of fiction

Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies, Michael Frayn’s Skios and Nicola Barker’s The Yips

This year’s Booker longlist supports ambition and experiment, writes Telegraph head of books Gaby Wood.

It seems obvious that the most exciting event related to the Man Booker Prize should be the announcement of the winner. That is, after all, who gets the money, the prestige and sales – and whose life is dramatically altered, whether it’s an established writer wondering what took the judges so long, or a first time novelist whose second effort is cramped by expectation.

But in my view the moment that holds the most potential is the announcement of the longlist, because a longlist is the least freighted with compromise, and has the greatest capacity to tell a story about the landscape of fiction in any given year.

Never the less, the story that was told with the list, arrived at by this year’s Man Booker judges on Wednesday over lunch, of 12 books for 2012, was not perhaps about fiction this year, but about what literary prizes should be for.

We are, at this moment, more or less in the middle of an excellent year for big British fiction. What does that mean? Well, that people from whom we are always excited to hear have new novels out: Hilary Mantel, Zadie Smith, Ian McEwan, Martin Amis, John Lanchester, John Banville, Peter Carey, Pat Barker, Rose Tremain, to name a few.

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