Man Booker Prize Longlist

Originally known as the Booker, it used to have just one criterion – that the prize would be for ‘the best novel in the opinion of the judges’. That remains one of the criteria and we know there have been some off years, it is a unique award, not what you would call popular fiction, it is what the organisers refer to as quality fiction to attract ‘the intelligent general audience’ – sounds a little book snobbish to me, but then  judging book prizes is subjective and often sparks a great debate and sometimes even bad behaviour.

The aim of today’s prize is said to be to promote the finest in literary fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.

Last year’s winner was Julian Barne’s Sense of an Endingwhich I admit that I have not read yet, Barnes’ being a novelist I’ve started and stopped a couple of times, but will persevere and read before too long.

As an aside, I saw recently that the 2002 winner Yann Martel’s Life of Pi is being made into a film, directed by Ang Lee and today the film trailer has come out and it looks promising indeed.

And so, the Man Booker long list, announced by the judges today, from 147 submitted, the 12 novels are:

Nicola Barker, The Yips

Ned Beauman, The Teleportation Accident

André Brink, Philida

Tan Twan Eng, The Garden of Evening Mists

Michael Frayn, Skios

Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Deborah Levy, Swimming Home

Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies

Alison Moore, The Lighthouse

Will Self, Umbrella

Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis

Sam Thompson, Communion Town

Life of Pi

Six novels will be shortlisted and announced on 11 September and the winner on 16 October 2012.

So have you read any on the list yet, any predictions for the shortlist?

Happy Reading!

34 thoughts on “Man Booker Prize Longlist

  1. I’m always excited when the list is released! I’ve heard of three of them and have plans on reading at least two on the list. I’ll have to check the rest out!


    • I’m with you Geoff, I’ve heard of three of the books and four of the authors, that’s a potentially interesting list in my view then, I like to see new names appear. But have no idea what we are considering yet, will be fun finding out.


    • That means absolutely nothing my bookish friend, he might suffer more if he wins on account of it. allow yourself to mature into the best writer you can possibly be, you’re not ready for the big time yet 🙂


  2. Well I have read two of the list – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Bring Up the Bodies – I loved them both – for different reasons as they are very different books. I have read a previous novel of Tan Twan Eng’s so might be interested in that one. Interesting.


    • It’s an interesting list, I think the most written about is probably Hilary Mantel, particularly since she won it in 2009 and her book is the second in a series. But there are lots of new names there, will be interesting to see how it evolves.


    • The thing with awards though, is that they are all new books and I don’t know about you, but I like to read more widely than just the latest thing, so really, it is not surprising for me that there are so many unknowns, this is almost like the beginning of their publicity campaign unless they are very well known like Mantel. I don’t read a lot of books, but I think I read a lot of blogs and review pages of papers/magazines and I haven’t seen many of these reviewed yet.


      • Yeah, I have a distrust of new books. Especially ones that seem to get popular very quickly. The prevelence of book awards doesn’t help either. I’ll stick to getting my book ideas off of your blog instead.


    • Yes, Hilary Mantel’s book is getting a lot of coverage and many people are reading it as a follow up to her previous Booker winner Wolf Hall. I’m looking forward to reading more about the selection in the coming weeks to know what might interest me.


  3. I’ve not read any. I wish the awards folk factored in quality of the tale into their decision making, and not just quality of the writing. I’d rather lose myself in the story than spend the time admiring the wordage.


    • When they have both Nelle, you’ve found the perfect book, I agree. Keeps it controversial I guess, and will always stimulate a good debate. Fortunately there is the Costa (was the Whitbread Prize) which is more about an all round quality read. The Booker likes to stretch us to our limits if it can, if it were to do anything else it might not be as distinguishable from the others. I think it was criticised last year for having too many easy reads.


  4. I’m always so ambivalent about these (any literary) awards. Such a crapshoot. But I’m grateful to learn about new authors or new books that are worthy of recognition.
    Must say, I’ve heard of three of these, read one (Bringing Up The Bodies, Hilary Mantel. Freakin’ brilliant, but she won for Wolf Hall in 2009, so…). Michael Frayn, who I normally eat up like ice cream, has not received great press for Skios. I’m not interested.
    Looks like I need to get busy and seek out a few others!


    • I quite like the long list process, because its a surety that there will be new authors to explore, new debate about books, more people reading; where it misleads is to think that whatever is short listed or wins is necessarily going to be our thing, but chances are there should be a few good books among the list that suit each of us.

      My all time favourite book came from a Booker prize longlist of 1988 and I know I would never have come across it if it hadn’t been for that list. The book was ‘The Industry of Souls’ by Martin Booth, sadly he only wrote one other book after that before he died.


  5. I’ve only read HAROLD FRY, which was good, but not near the quality of THE SENSE OF AN ENDING, which I just finished in 1 sitting and loved.


  6. Time does fly! I haven’t even heard of most of these but I have read HAROLD FRY and was not particularly a fan. I loved Wolf Hall so am excited to be starting BRING UP THE BODIES this week. I see you are reading WILD. Several friends have spoken about it to me recently so I’ve added it to my TBR list. I’m looking forward to your review.


    • We are going to be hearing a lot more about them I am sure Patricia, which may help us know which might be of interest, I haven’t read any of them, and am one behind with needing to read Wolf Hall first too. I am keen to read Deborah Levy’s book Swimming Home, I have read her before and am aware of her star ascending.


  7. Spending too much time in the history books these last months, it is time to read some Booker longlist writers. After a cursory review I ‘ll try the following:
    Bringing up the Bodies ( history :)), The Lighthouse and The Garden of Evening Mists. …will keep you posted on my progress! Winner? Looks like H Mantel will get the prize again!


  8. I’m not sure why they picked books that people never heard before. I haven’t seen any of these being read or reviewed… For the past few years I have lost interest and I only attempt to read the book which won the prize. It would be interesting to see Life of Pi on movie. 🙂


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