The 2016 Booker Prize longlist has been announced today (27th July 2016), kicking things off for another batch of hard-hitting novels to add to your read list, if they’re not up there already. Following up on the 2015 Booker Prize winner – Marlon James’ A Brief History Of Seven Killings – isn’t going to be easy, but with J. M. Coetzee back in the running, having previously won the prize twice before, along with 2012 shortlisted author Deborah Levy (Swimming Home), it’s definitely got the big name authors to stack up with last year’s surprise win.
You can check out the full longlist below, along with a short synopsis of the thirteen books that have made it through the opening round of the competition. The shortlist will boil things down to just six books, which will be announced on the 13th September 2016, followed by the winners ceremony on the 25th October 2016 at the Guildhall in London.
If Coetzee does go on to win the prize, he’ll be the first author to top the annual Man Booker competition for the third time. He previously won the prize in 1983 with Life And Times Of Michael K and again in 1999 with Disgrace, while also picking up an additional three longlist places along the way, with 2009’s Summertime also making it through to the shortlist, only to be pipped to the post by Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.
Some commentators have been surprised not to see Ian McEwan’s Nutshell and Julian Barnes’ The Noise Of Time in the longlist, but it would seem the previous winners didn’t quite stack up to the work of the thirteen books selected for the 2016 Booker Prize first round. The judging panel this year is chaired by award-winning historian and columnist for The Sunday Times, Dr. Amanda Foreman, and includes writer Jon Day, novelist and literature professor Abdulrazak Gurnah, poet and professor of creative writing at the University of Roehampton, David Harsent, and actor Olivia Williams.
The 2016 Man Booker Prize longlist:
- Paul Beatty (US) – The Sellout (Oneworld) – Modern day slavery meets sociological studies in the ‘agrarian ghetto’ of Dickens on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles
- J.M. Coetzee (Australia) – The Schooldays of Jesus (Harvill Secker) – an allegorical tale of growing up told through the eyes of seven-year-old Davíd as he’s enrolled into the Academy of Dance
- A.L. Kennedy (UK) – Serious Sweet (Jonathan Cape) – 24-hours in the lives of two Londoners trying to navigate the choppy waters of morality
- Deborah Levy (UK) – Hot Milk (Hamish Hamilton) – a mother and daughter grapple with an illness in the sweltering heat of coastal southern Spain
- Graeme Macrae Burnet (UK) – His Bloody Project (Contraband) – the aftermath of a brutal slaying in a remote crofting community in Britain
- Ian McGuire (UK) – The North Water (Scribner UK) – a gripping face-off between a bloodthirsty harpooner and a ship’s medic out in the choppy waters of the Arctic Circle
- David Means (US) – Hystopia (Faber & Faber) – a surreal re-imagining of the late 1960s
- Wyl Menmuir (UK) – The Many (Salt) – a man digs on alone against a partisan island village
- Ottessa Moshfegh (US) – Eileen (Jonathan Cape) – desperate times result in desperate measures for the titular Eileen when a work relationship lifeline results in a shocking crime
- Virginia Reeves (US) – Work Like Any Other (Scribner UK) – electrical skills go wrong for husband Rosco T. Martin when his wife inherits her father’s failing farm in Alabama
- Elizabeth Strout (US) – My Name Is Lucy Barton (Viking) – Lucy faces a life confrontation when her mom comes to visit as she recovers from what should have been a simple operation
- David Szalay (UK) – All That Man Is (Jonathan Cape) – nine men at different stages in their lives struggle with the realities of their situation in Prague
- Madeleine Thien (Canada) – Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Granta Books) – young imaginations run over the lives of musicians under Mao’s cultural revolution