Seeing as I posted the National Book Award’s 2013 longlist last week, it seems only fair that I’d talk about the Man Booker Prize’s shortlist for 2013 as well. All the way back on September 10th, the 13-title longlist released in July got narrowed down to six fiction novels in anticipation for the announcement of the prize’s winner, due out on October 15th. Titles that made it to the shortlist include works by Colm Tóibín, Ruth Ozeki, and Jhumpa Lahiri.The shortlist announcement wasn’t the only reason the Man Booker Prize has been in the headlines as of late, however. Last week, a mere day after the National Book Award released their longlist, it was announced that American books would be eligible candidates Man Booker Prize starting in 2014. The award has only been open to English-language novels from Britain and the Commonwealth since it was first established as the Booker Prize in 1969, and there has been a good amount of backlash following the decision to include the Americans. Critics worry that the American novels will overshadow the other international titles, crowding out lesser-known authors who in the past have benefited greatly from the publicity boost provided by being nominated for and/or winning the British literary prize, like The White Tiger writer, Aravind Adiga. As British novelist (and a Booker finalist and judge himself) Philip Hensher put it, “It’s hard to think of American novels that don’t make their way into the larger English world. But I can think of Canadian, Indian, African novels that struggle to find a broader readership.”
Author Linda Grant, who was shortlisted back in 2008 for her novel The Clothes on Their Backs, added,
There are two career-changing prizes, the Booker and the Pulitzer. The Pulitzer has this big market in the US, and UK authors are closed off from that. If the Booker is open to US authors it will create a huge imbalance. UK writers will have more competition for a career-changing prize, whereas US authors will have a new prize.
Not everyone thinks that the move to expand the award is a bad one, however; proponents of the change argue that it will make the award more competitive while simultaneously offering new opportunities for less popular American writers in the same way it offers opportunities for less popular British and Commonwealth writers.
All of this aside, here is the shortlist for 2013’s Man Booker Prize. The winner will be announced in less than a month on October 15th, so be sure to keep your eye out for that! And, because I believe you can never include too many books on a list, I’ve included the longlist titles at the end. Happy readings!
We Need New Names~Noviolet Bulawayo
The Luminaries~Eleanor Catton
The Lowland~Jhumpa Lahiri
A Tale for the Time Being~Ruth Ozeki
The Testament of Mary~ Colm Tóibín
- Five Star Billionaire~Tash Aw
- The Marrying of Chani Kaufman~Eve Harris
- The Kills~Richard House
- Unexploded~Alison MacLeod
- TransAtlantic~Colum McCann
- Almost English~Charlotte Mendelson
- The Spinning Heart~Donal Ryan