‘This is a very exciting year. The range of books is broad and the quality extremely high. Each novel provoked intense discussion and, at times, passionate debate, challenging our expectations of what a novel is and can be...From the historical to the contemporary, the satirical to the polemical, the novels in this list come from both established writers and new voices. The writing is uniformly fresh, energetic and important. It is a longlist to be relished.’
Former double winner J.M. Coetzee makes the list with The Schooldays of Jesus. He won the then Booker Prize in 1983 with Life & Times of Michael K and then again with Disgrace in 1999, making him the first writer to win the prize twice. Deborah Levy was shortlisted for the prize in 2012 forSwimming Home. A.L. Kennedy was a judge for the prize in 1996, the year Graham Swift won withLast Orders.
Four debut novels make the longlist: Hystopia by David Means; The Many by Wyl Menmuir; Eileenby Ottessa Moshfegh and Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves.
Publishers large and small are represented with six titles from Penguin Random House imprints (Harvill Secker, Jonathan Cape, Hamish Hamilton, Viking); two from Simon & Schuster’s Scribner UK imprint; and five from independent publishers, including Saraband, Faber & Faber, Salt, Granta and Oneworld. Oneworld celebrated its first Man Booker success last year, when Marlon James won the prize with A Brief History of Seven Killings.
The shortlist and winner announcements
The shortlist of six books will be announced on Tuesday 13 September at a press conference at the London offices of Man Group, the prize’s sponsor. The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book.
The 2016 winner will then be announced on Tuesday 25 October in London’s Guildhall at a black-tie dinner, one of the highlights of the publishing year. The ceremony will be broadcast by the BBC.
The winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize will receive a further £50,000 and can expect international recognition. Last year’s winning novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, has sold over 315,000 copies to date in the UK and Commonwealth and is available in 20 languages.
On winning, James commented: ‘I just met Ben Okri and it just reminded me of how much my literary sensibilities were shaped by the Man Booker Prize.’
HBO has optioned screen rights to the novel for a series adaptation and, since winning, James has spent the year travelling around the globe, speaking at festivals as diverse as the Jaipur Festival, the Auckland Writers’ Festival, the Sydney Writers Festival, the Hay, Manchester and Brighton Festivals in the UK, the Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica and the Bocas Lit Fest in Trinidad and Tobago.
The leading prize for quality fiction in English
First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognised as the leading prize for high quality literary fiction written in English. Its list of winners features many of the literary giants of the last four decades: from Iris Murdoch to Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan to Dame Hilary Mantel.
The rules of the prize were changed at the end of 2013 to embrace the English language ‘in all its vigour, its vitality, its versatility and its glory’, opening up to writers beyond the UK and Commonwealth.
The Man Booker Prize is sponsored by Man Group, one of the world’s largest independent alternative investment managers.