The Man Booker 2014 – the Americans have arrived

What a change! The Man Booker Prize now includes American writers, is this a good thing? We shall see no doubt. In this first year out of a Long-list of thirteen titles, four are American and one more is listed as Irish/American. The tell will be the Short-list announced in September. I haven’t read any of the titles on the list and will start immediately, so expect nothing but Booker blogs for the next few weeks. New novels, one and all.

The list, in case you haven’t got a newspaper is:

TO RISE AGAIN AT A DECENT HOUR, Joshua Ferris (American) (Viking)
THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH, Richard Flanagan (Australian) (Chatto)
WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES, Karen Joy Fowler (American) (Serpent’s Tail)
THE BLAZING WORLD, Siri Hustvedt (American) (Sceptre)
J, Howard Jacobson (British) (Cape)
THE WAKE, Paul Kingsnorth (British) (Unbound)
THE BONE CLOCKS, David Mitchell (British) (Sceptre)
THE LIVES OF OTHERS, Neel Mukherjee (British) (Chatto)
US, David Nicholls (British) (Hodder)
THE DOG, Joseph O’Neill (Irish/American) (Fourth Estate)
ORFEO, Richard Powers (American) (Atlantic)
HOW TO BE BOTH, Ali Smith (British) (Hamish Hamilton)
HISTORY OF THE RAIN, Niall Williams (Irish) (Bloomsbury)

You will all know some of these authors, some very well. Paul Kingsnorth is an author and poet, though The Wake is his first novel. David Nicholls is better known as a writer for TV, but this is not his first novel. So have the Americans displaced the debut novel? As you know I have read some pretty amazing debut novels this year – are they all being selected elsewhere? Is there now a prize for a debut novel? Or are there so many prizes that they have got a chance in another list?

The Man Booker was where I looked for them and met some fabulous storytellers, I shall definitely miss them.


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