Man Booker longlist 2014: UK and US authors dominate

Longlist for the 2014 Man Booker Prize announced

Judges describe it as a 'vintage year' - the first in which American authors can take part

LAST UPDATED AT 15:51 ON Wed 23 Jul 2014

The Man Booker Prize longlist was announced today, amid accusations that writers from Commonwealth countries have been overlooked now that American authors are eligible, the BBC reports.

The judges selected 13 novels. Six are by Britons, four by Americans, and two Irish writers and one Australian are nominated.

The novels by "heavyweight" British authors include The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, How to Be Both by Ali Smith and J by Howard Jacobson.

Chair of judges, the philosopher AC Grayling told The Guardian that 2014 had been "a vintage year".

"They are very ambitious books and some of them tackle big issues of the day," he said. "There's a lot of perceptiveness and wisdom in these books, some of them are quite moving and all of them are very difficult to put down once you get into them."

This is the first year the prestigious literary prize has not been restricted to authors from the UK, Ireland, the Commonwealth and Zimbabwe. The criteria were widened last year to include books by authors from anywhere in the world that were written in English and published in the UK.

The decision to include books by authors from all over the world "rankled some purists", according to the New York Times. And although the majority of authors are still from UK, the rest come from America, Ireland and Australia, and there are none from Africa, Asia or the Middle East. 

Sameer Rahim, of the Daily Telegraph, says it is a "shame [that] in trying to open up, the Man Booker Prize ends up excluding voices from outside the Anglo-American centre". 

The announcement also upset several feminist writers who noticed a shortage of women on the longlist.

But the judges said they chose the books purely on merit, "not the nationality, gender or reputation of the writers", the Guardian reports. They also said it was down to publishers who had "tried to test the water" by submitting more novels by American authors.

The six judges have until 9 September to produce a shortlist of six authors, with the winner being announced on October 14th.

The 2014 Man Booker Prize longlist in full
  • To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
  • The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
  • J by  Howard Jacobson
  • The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth
  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
  • The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee
  • Us by David Nicholls
  • The Dog by Joseph O'Neill
  • Orfeo by Richard Powers
  • How to be Both by Ali Smith
  • History of the Rain by Niall Williams


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