And then there were 6! – Man Booker Prize shortlist revealed

The 2016 Shortlist for the Man Booker Prize has been unveiled, and once again it makes for some interesting reading. Past winners, and literary heavyweights have found themselves dispensed with as the judges have agonisingly whittled down the long list to a mere six titles.

The six authors and books that made the shortlist then are as follows:

Paul Beatty (US) – The Sellout (Oneworld)
Deborah Levy (UK) – Hot Milk (Hamish Hamilton)
Graeme Macrae Burnet (UK) – His Bloody Project (Saraband)
Ottessa Moshfegh (US) – Eileen (Jonathan Cape)
David Szalay (Canada-UK) – All That Man Is (Jonathan Cape)
Madeleine Thien (Canada) – Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Granta Books)

Of the six authors that remain, Deborah Levy is perhaps the biggest and most recognisable name. Levy was shortlisted for her novel Swimming Home in 2012, but if this shortlist shows anything it’s that past successes aren’t a sure sign of anything, with a number of those shortlisted being new faces.

The short list can also be seen as cause of celebration for small independent publishers, of the six titles, half are from small independent publishers. In fact it doesn’t get much smaller or more independent than Saraband, the publisher behind Graeme Macrae Burnet’s His Bloody Project, the Glasgow publishing house is a two-person operation.

The shortlisted books cover a diversity of subject matter, from 19th century murder in Scotland to classical music in Revolutionary China. And in the third year where the competition has been open to all nationalities, it’s an even split with 2 a piece from the UK, the USA and Canada.

The chair of the judging panel, Dr. Amanda Foreman remarked that the remaining six titles “reflect the centrality of the novel in modern culture – in its ability to champion the unconventional, to explore the unfamiliar, and to tackle difficult subjects.”

Each of the shortlisted authors will receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book; whilst the eventual winner will receive a further £50,000 and an inevitable bump in sales and international exposure.

The winner of the Man Booker Prize will be announced on Tuesday 25th October

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Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.

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