Women writers dominate the race for the Man Booker Prize, but we want to know who you want to win…
Announced this morning, the 45th Man Booker Prize shortlist is as geographically diverse as ever – featuring authors from Canada, Britain, Ireland, New Zealand and, for the first time in the prize’s history, Zimbabwe.
“Global in its reach, this exceptional shortlist demonstrates the vitality and range of the contemporary novel at its finest.” Chair of judges Robert Macfarlane said at a press conference this morning. “These six superb works of fiction take us from gold-rush New Zealand to revolutionary Calcutta, from modern-day Japan to the Holy Land of the Gospels, and from Zimbabwe to the deep English countryside.”
Two writers have appeared on the list before - Jim Crace, who was shortlisted in 1997 for Quarantine, and Colm Tóibín, twice shortlisted for The Blackwater Lightship in 1999 and in 2004 with The Master – but this year’s list is quite clearly dominated by female writers.
However, these four authors represent a myriad of cultural and social background – Ruth Ozeki, is a Buddhist priest; Jhumpa Lahiri, a member of Barack Obama’s President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities; NoViolet Bulawayo, the first Zimbabwean writer to make the shortlist; and Eleanor Catton, who at 28 is the youngest on the shortlist.
“World-spanning in their concerns, and ambitious in their techniques,” added Macfarlane, “(these books) remind us of the possibilities and power of the novel as a form.”
He and the rest of the judging panel now have just over a month to select a winner, who will be announced on 15th October at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall, broadcast by the BBC. Though the ultimate winner will receive not only the prestige that accompanies the award but a cheque for £50,000, all shortlisted authors will take home £2,500 and a specially made hand-bound edition of their book.
Have your say… Tell us who you think should win this year’s Man Booker Prize…
The shortlist in full
We Need New Names, NoViolet Bulawayo (Read a sample)
The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton (Read a sample)
Harvest, Jim Crace (Read a sample)
The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri (Read a sample)
A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki (Read a sample)
The Testament of Mary, Colm Tóibín (Read a sample)
Dan Lewis, for Waterstones.com/blog