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The Man Booker Prize announces 2018 shortlist


The Man Booker Prize announces 2018 shortlist

@ManBookerPrize | #FinestFiction |#ManBooker2018

Anna Burns, Esi Edugyan, Daisy Johnson, Rachel Kushner, Richard Powers and Robin Robertson are today, Thursday 20 September, announced as the six authors shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

The shortlist, which features four women and two men, covers a wide range of subjects, from an 11 year-old slave escaping a Barbados sugar plantation, to a D-Day veteran living with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Man Booker Prize is open to writers of any nationality writing in English and published in the UK and Ireland. This year’s shortlist recognises three writers from the UK, two from the US, and one from Canada.

The 2018 shortlist of six novels

Author (country/territory) Title (imprint) 

Anna Burns (UK) Milkman (Faber & Faber) 

Esi Edugyan (Canada) Washington Black (Serpent’s Tail) 

Daisy Johnson (UK) Everything Under (Jonathan Cape) 

Rachel Kushner (USA) The Mars Room (Jonathan Cape) 

Richard Powers (USA) The Overstory (William Heinemann) 

Robin Robertson (UK) The Long Take (Picador) 

Kwame Anthony Appiah comments: 

‘All of our six finalists are miracles of stylistic invention. In each of them the language takes centre stage. And yet in every other respect they are remarkably diverse, exploring a multitude of subjects ranging across space and time. From Ireland to California, in Barbados and the Arctic, they inhabit worlds that not everyone will have been to, but which we can all be enriched by getting to know. Each one explores the anatomy of pain—among the incarcerated and on a slave plantation, in a society fractured by sectarian violence, and even in the natural world. But there are also in each of them moments of hope. These books speak very much to our moment, but we believe that they will endure. And we look forward to re-reading all of them as we make our way towards what will inevitably be the very difficult choice of only one of these brilliantly imaginative works as this year’s winner of the Man Booker Prize.’

Facts about the 2018 shortlisted authors

 At 27, Daisy Johnson is the youngest author ever to make the shortlist for her novel Everything Under, beating 2013 winner Eleanor Catton to the record.

 Esi Edugyan, author of Washington Black, is the only 2018 contender to have been shortlisted previously (Half-Blood Blues, 2011).

 Richard Powers, who was long listed in 2014 (Orfeo), was inspired to write The Overstory by an ancient tree in California’s Santa Cruz mountain range.

 Rachel Kushner spent time in US prisons to research The Mars Room, a gritty tale told from the perspective of a former lap-dancer serving two life sentences in an American women’s jail.

 Anna Burns’ Milkman draws on the experience of Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Her first novel, No Bones, was also set in this period, and was shortlisted for the 2002 Orange Prize for Fiction (now the Women’s Prize).

 Robin Robertson, the author of The Long Take —the first novel in verse, with photographs, to be in contention for the prize —is also the editor of Michael Ondaatje’s Warlight, which was longlisted this year.

The shortlist was selected by a panel of five judges: the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah (Chair); crime writer Val McDermid; cultural critic Leo Robson; feminist writer and critic Jacqueline Rose; and artist and graphic novelist Leanne Shapton. 

The 2018 winner announcement

The 2018 winner will be announced on Tuesday 16 October in London’s Guildhall, at a dinner that brings together the shortlisted authors and well-known figures from the cultural world. The ceremony will be aired by the BBC, the prize’s broadcast partner. 

The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. The winner will receive a further £50,000 and can expect instant international recognition. In the week following the 2017 winner announcement, sales of Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders increased by 1227%. Bloomsbury has to date sold over 230k copies of Lincoln across all formats, 70% of those sales coming after the win.

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 includes many of the giants of the last four decades, from Salman Rushdie to Hilary Mantel, Iris Murdochto Ian McEwan. The prize has also recognised many authors early in their careers, including Eleanor Catton, Aravind Adiga and Ben Okri.

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