The Man Booker Prize is a highly respected and regarded literary award for writers. Previously, this award was only open to writers of an original novel, written in the English language, by a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations. However, this is a stellar year. The 2014 shortlist includes writers from around the world. There are several American writers on the shortlist this year. More information regarding the Man Booker Prize is available at: http://www.themanbookerprize.com/
The Booker longlist in full
Joshua Ferris (US) – To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Richard Flanagan (Australia) – The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Karen Joy Fowler (US) – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Siri Hustvedt (US) – The Blazing World
Howard Jacobson (Britain) – J
Paul Kingsnorth (Britain) – The Wake
David Mitchell (Britain) – The Bone Clocks
Neel Mukherjee (Britain) – The Lives of Others
David Nicholls (Britain) – Us
Joseph O'Neill (Ireland) – The Dog
Richard Powers (US) – Orfeo
Ali Smith (Britain) – How to Be Both
Niall Williams (Ireland) – History of the Rain
Britain’s The Guardian reports:
The Booker opened up to the world – and to some, the publishing world looked a little narrower. With American authors eligible for the first time, the resulting lineup is unsurprisingly Anglo-American in flavour – chair of judges AC Grayling said publishers had been concentrating on pushing their US authors – but also overwhelmingly white and male. No African or Indian authors, and only one British woman. Globalisation often tends towards a monoculture, and the other much-debated rule change, whereby past success increases the number of books a publisher may submit, can only push the prize towards the establishment. The small-press surprises and unknown debutantes that have been a fixture of recent years are notably absent – though notable too is the prize's first crowd-funded long-listee, eco-activist Paul Kingsnorth's Old English tale of resistance to the Norman invasion.
But let's hope the books are discussed as passionately as the rules, for in a strong year, the judges have found some fantastic novels. There's popular fiction in the shape of David Nicholls' followup to the megaselling One Day, as well as stylistic experimentation from Kingsnorth and Ali Smith.
Americans Siri Hustvedt and Richard Powers write beautifully about art and music respectively; Richard Flanagan and Neel Mukherjee have produced brilliant historical novels about Australian soldiers in the second world war and Indian politics in the 60s. Joshua Ferris's novel about dentistry, virtual identity and the search for meaning is bitingly funny; Karen Joy Fowler draws on studies of chimpanzee behaviour to consider what it is that makes us human.
Joseph O'Neill had already caused a stir with his first novel, Netherland; Niall Williams' overlooked paean to the joys of reading in the rain will now draw more attention. And we can see the influence of science fiction on the mainstream, with a career-departure dystopia from Howard Jacobson and a career-best fantastical epic from David Mitchell (The Bone Clocks has given me more reading pleasure than any other novel this year).
At the start of the year, everyone was convinced Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch would win; things turned out to be not so predictable. Her absence may be the only big surprise in a solid lineup, but there are rich rewards to be found.
**Special thanks to The Guardian’s July 23rd issue for extensive coverage of this event.