Four Americans - none of them named Donna Tartt - made the longlist for the Man Booker Prize, among the most prestigious literary awards in the world. It was formerly open only to writers from Britain and the Commonwealth, Ireland and Zimbabwe. The four are Siri Hustvedt, Joshua Ferris, Karen Joy Fowler and Richard Powers. The most obvious snub of an American is the absence of Tartt, whose "The Goldfinch" won the Pulitzer Prize in the U.S.
The announcement of the longlist yesterday caused a stir in the British press, where one headline blared "Commonwealth Writers Edged Out." None of the nominees is from the Caribbean or Africa. The award was opened up to all writers in English at the end of last year.
Two of the Americans are from the San Francisco area - Fowler, who lives in Santa Cruz, Calif. and Powers, who teaches creative writing at Stanford. Richard Flanagan is the lone Australian. One British nominee, Howard Jacobson, is a former Booker winner.
There are no nominees from New Zealand, but that country's Eleanor Catton, who won the award last year, told the Booker Prize Foundation: "I think it's a really great thing that finally we've got a prize that is an English-language prize that doesn't make a distinction for writers who are writing from a particular country."
The full list, with the books' British publishers:
"To Rise Again at a Decent Hour," Joshua Ferris (Viking)
"The Narrow Road to the Deep North," Richard Flanagan (Chatto & Windus)
"We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves," Karen Joy Fowler (Serpent's Tail)
"The Blazing World," Siri Hustvedt (Sceptre)
"J," Howard Jacobson (Jonathan Cape)
"The Wake," Paul Kingsnorth (Unbound)
"The Bone Clocks," David Mitchell (Sceptre)
"The Lives of Others," Neel Mukherjee (Chatto & Windus)
"Us," David Nicholls (Hodder & Stoughton)
"The Dog," Joseph O'Neill (Fourth Estate)
"Orfeo," Richard Powers (Atlantic Books)
"How to be Both," Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)
"History of the Rain," Niall Williams (Bloomsbury)
The shortlist of six books will be announced Sept. 9. The Man Booker Prize winner, who collects L50,000 pounds, will be announced in a lavish, televised ceremony Oct. 14.