Having swathed their way through a total of 156 book, the judging panel for the 2015 Man Booker Prize has paired if down to their 13 strong longlist, the first step in the exciting buildup to the announcement of the winner later this year. With three debut novels in the list and four books with independent publishers, this is a longlist that’s far from being overran by the established order and with three novels from the UK, five from the US and one apiece from India, Jamaica, New Zealand, Nigeria and The Republuc Of Island, there’s a good amount of international variety.
The judges have also announced the next phase in the prize with their 2015 shortlist and the winner will be announced on Tuesday 13 October in London’s Guildhall.
The Booker Prize 2015 longlist:
Bill Clegg (US) – Did You Ever Have a Family – (Jonathan Cape)
The first of the three debut novels, Bill Clegg’s Did You Ever Have A Family centres on a community that searches for meaning, truth and solace as they attempt to cope with the aftermath of a terrible tragedy.
Anne Enright (Ireland) – The Green Road – (Jonathan Cape)
Having already won the Booker Prize in 2007 for The Gathering, the Irish author is back in the longlist with her latest novel, The Green Road. Set on the Ireland’s Atlantic coast, it’s a story about home, with selfishness and heartfelt feeling intertwining to set out the compassion and savagery of the Madigan family.
Marlon James (Jamaica) – A Brief History of Seven Killings – (Oneworld Publications)
Marlon James is the first Jamaican-born writer to feature in the Booker Prize longlist with his third novel, A Brief History Of Seven Killings, which has picked up a fair amount of critical acclaim since its release in October 2014. It tells the story of the dark past at the heart of his native Jamaica, spanning the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the 1970s, the drug wars in New York in the 80s and the resurgent Jamaica of the 1990s.
Laila Lalami (US) – The Moor’s Account – (Periscope, Garnet Publishing)
Similarly to Marlon James, Lalami’s inclusion into the list with her third novel, The Moor’s Account, makes her the first Moroccan-born writer to be nominated for the award, following up on being a finalist in the 2015 Pultzer Prize For Fiction. It’s a work of historical fiction that trails the imagined memoirs of a Moroccan slave who was the first black explorer in the Americas.
Tom McCarthy (UK) – Satin Island (Jonathan Cape)
Tom McCarthy is one of two former shortlist nominees, having previously been selected for C in the 2010 Booker Prize, and his latest novel looks at the way we make sense of the world around us and our life’s place within it through the experiences of U, a “corporate anthropologist” writing the Great Report to sum up modern day and recent past society.
Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) – The Fishermen – (ONE, Pushkin Press)
Chigozie Obioma is the second of the three debut authors in the longlist with The Fishermen, set in 1990s Nigeria where the lives of four brothers gets waylaid when a madmen casts a prophesy over them that one of the brothers will kill another.
Andrew O’Hagan (UK) – The Illuminations – (Faber & Faber)
AndrewO’Hagen was shortlisted in 1999 for Our Fathers and longlisted in 2006 for Be Near Me and with his fifth work of fiction he conjures up the secrets and lies of his two main characters, Anne Quirk and her son Luke, who has just returned from a tour of duty in the Royal Western Fusiliers in Afghanistan.
Marilynne Robinson (US) – Lila – (Virago)
The celebrated American author returns with only her fourth novel, Lila, which sees her bringing back the character from her Pulitzer Prize winning Gilead and Orange Prize-winning Home.
Anuradha Roy (India) – Sleeping on Jupiter – (MacLehose Press, Quercus)
Anuradha Roy’s Sleeping On Jupiter tells the story of Nomi as a young girl as she is taken from her family and left living in an ashram, overseen by a charismatic guru, and then again as a young women as she returns to the place of her youth with a documentary film crew in a bid to chase down the truth to her troubled past.
Sunjeev Sahota (UK) – The Year of the Runaways – (Picador)
Sahota’s second novel swirls up the turbulent past and present for a group of thirteen Indian men who live in a house together in Sheffield.
Anna Smaill (New Zealand) – The Chimes – (Sceptre)
Anna’s The Chimes is the last of the debut novels to feature the 2015 longlist. The oddly dystopian London that features in the book sees a world in which the written word has been forbidden, memories are lost and music is the only hook to the past.
Anne Tyler (US) – A Spool of Blue Thread – (Chatto & Windus)
Pulizer-prize winning writer, Anne Tyler, follows up her nineteen previous novels with A Pool Of Blue Thread, which has already been nominated in the 2015 Women’s Prize For Fiction shortlist. It tells the story of the Whitshank family, who have gathered together on the porch of their home to work out how to protect it and its inhabitants as the past overshadows their present lives.
Hanya Yanagihara (US) – A Little Life – (Picador)
Hawaii-born Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life is a moving story of love and friendship in the modern world, trailing four friends as they move to New York and attempt to make a future together, despite the broken lives of their past.