Sunday 19 August 2018

Man Booker Prize 2017 shortlist: Six books that ‘challenge and subtly shift our preconception’ chosen

Man Booker
Man Booker

Christopher Hooton

Paul Auster, Emily Fridlund, Mohsin Hamid, Fiona Mozley, George Saunders and Ali Smith have been announced as the six authors shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

The works by three women and three men cover a wide range of subjects, from the struggle of a family trying to retain its self-sufficiency in rural England to a love story between two refugees seeking to flee an unnamed city in the throes of civil war.

The judges, headed up by Baroness Lola Young, said at a press conference that “the novels [chosen], each in their own way, challenge and subtly shift our preconceptions – about the nature of love, about the experience of time, about questions of identity and even death.”

Writers of all nationalities were made eligible to win the prize four years ago, and in 2017 the shortlist consists of two British, one British-Pakistani and three American writers.

The 2017 shortlist is as follows [Title Author (nationality) (imprint)]:

4321 by Paul Auster (US) (Faber & Faber)

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (US) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (UK-Pakistan) (Hamish Hamilton)

Elmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) (JM Originals)

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US) (Bloomsbury Publishing)                   

Autumn by Ali Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton) 

Lola, Baroness Young commented:

“With six unique and intrepid books that collectively push against the borders of convention, this year’s shortlist both acknowledges established authors and introduces new voices to the literary stage. Playful, sincere, unsettling, fierce: here is a group of novels grown from tradition but also radical and contemporary. The emotional, cultural, political and intellectual range of these books is remarkable, and the ways in which they challenge our thinking is a testament to the power of literature.”

Ali Smith and Mohsin Hamid both add to their previous shortlistings, while Fiona Mozley is the youngest author up for the prize at 29.

4321 by Auster is the longest novel on the shortlist at 866 pages and, according to the author, took three and a half years, working six and a half days a week, to write.

The judging panel, chaired by Lola, Baroness Young, consists of: the literary critic Lila Azam Zanganeh; the Man Booker Prize shortlisted novelist Sarah Hall; the artist Tom Phillips CBE RA; and the travel writer and novelist Colin Thubron CBE.

The 2017 winner will be announced on Tuesday 17 October in London’s Guildhall.

Independent News Service

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