Now that school’s back ‘in’, the leaves are falling from the trees and the prestigious Booker Prize shortlist has been announced, what better time to curl up with a good book? We’ve collected the biggest literary news and a few of our top picks for books, whether fact or fiction, thriller or comedy, or both, for you to delve through for your next big read.
The eagerly awaited shortlist for the prestigious Man Brooker Prize has been released
To even be associated with the world-renowned competition guarantees a boost in prestige and sales. Last year, the Nielsen Bookscan reported that Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall which won in 2009 had increased sales of 463 per cent, while 2010’s winner The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson had its sales boosted by an astonishing 1,918 per cent.
Last year, Marlon James became the first ever Jamaican-born writer to claim the title. His epic 680-page A Brief History of Seven Killings impressed the judges so much that they reportedly came to an unanimous decision within an hour to decide that the novel, which spans three decades and focuses on how the 1976 attempted assassination on Bob Marley sparked generations of turbulent criminal activity.
This year Paul Beatty, Deborah Levy, Graeme Macrae Burnet, Ottessa Moshfegh, David Szalay and Madeleine Thien are announced as the six shortlisted authors for the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Chair of judges, Dr. Amanda Foreman, announced the names at a press conference at the offices of sponsor Man Group.
The judges remarked on the role of the novel in exploring culture and in tackling unfamiliar and challenging subjects, and on the shortlisted authors’ willingness to play with language and form. The shortlist features a variety of voices, from new names to award winners. The books cover a diverse range of subjects, with subjects varying from murder in 19th century Scotland to classical music in Revolutionary China. In the third year that the prize has been open to writers of any nationality, the shortlist is an even split between two British, two US and two Canadian writers.
Three novels from Penguin Random House are shortlisted alongside three from small, independent publishers. The 2016 shortlist of six novels is:
• Paul Beatty (US) – The Sellout (Oneworld)
• Deborah Levy (UK) – Hot Milk (Hamish Hamilton)
• Graeme Macrae Burnet (UK) – His Bloody Project (Contraband)
• Ottessa Moshfegh (US) – Eileen (Jonathan Cape)
• David Szalay (Canada-UK) – All That Man Is (Jonathan Cape)
• Madeleine Thien (Canada) – Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Granta Books)
‘The Man Booker Prize subjects novels to a level of scrutiny that few books can survive. Dr. Foreman commented: “In re-reading our incredibly diverse and challenging longlist, it was both agonizing and exhilarating to be confronted by the sheer power of the writing.
“As a group we were excited by the willingness of so many authors to take risks with language and form. “The final six reflect the centrality of the novel in modern culture – in its ability to champion the unconventional, to explore the unfamiliar, and to tackle difficult subjects.”
Deborah Levy is the only previously- shortlisted author (for Swimming Home in 2012).
The 2016 winner’s ceremony
The 2016 winner will be announced on Tuesday 25 October in London’s Guildhall, at a black-tie dinner that brings together the shortlisted authors and well-known figures from the literary world. The ceremony will be broadcast by the BBC. In the meantime, there will be a number of public events featuring the shortlisted authors, including two events at The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival (Saturday 15 October).
The traditional Man Booker Prize Readings will take place at the Southbank Centre on the eve of the prize, 24 October, hosted by comedian and writer Sara Pascoe. A special Man Booker Prize edition of Artsnight will air on BBC Two on Saturday 22 October. There will also be a range of further events with the winner, which will be announced in due course.
The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. The winner will receive a further £50,000 as well as the inevitable international recognition. Also, in for the first time ever, RNIB has ensured that braille versions of the shortlisted books are available in time for the announcement.
The Booker Prize Foundation has a longstanding partnership with RNIB to provide Man Booker Prize books to the tens of thousands of blind and partially sighted members of the RNIB Library.
The leading prize for quality fiction in English
From longlist stage onwards, the ‘Man Booker Dozen’ receives widespread interest from the media, booksellers and the public, in the form of critical engagement, media coverage and escalated book sales. 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 includes many of the giants of the last four decades, from Salman Rushdie to Hilary Mantel, Iris Murdoch to Ian McEwan. This is the third year that the prize has been open to writers of any nationality, writing in English and published in the UK.
Previously, the prize was open only to authors from the UK & Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.
• To hear the most up-to-date news on this year’s prize, listen to the Man Booker Prize Podcast series,, learn more about the prize’s history or share your thoughts online, visit www.themanbookerprize.com
Caimh McDonnell is a stand up comic, writes for multiple TV sketch shows and among all that fits in being the announcer at London Irish Rugby Club.