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The Man Booker Dozen: how many have you read?


The longlist for the Man Booker Prize, Britain's most prestigious literary award, is out and just over half of those commended are female writers.

Seven out of the 13 books in the list are by women, a welcome change compared to three in 2014.

The nominations also feature authors from seven different countries due to the competition being open to writers of any nationality who publish books in English in the UK, for a second year running.

Three British writers made the final 13, alongside four from the USA and one from Ireland, Jamaica, Nigeria, India and New Zealand.

It includes former winner Anne Enright and three debut novelists: Bill Clegg, Chigozie Obioma and Anna Smaill.

The biggest surprise was that Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird sequel Go Set A Watchman didn't make the list. 

The longlist was selected from 156 books by a panel of five judges chaired by Michael Wood including Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, John Burnside, Sam Leith and Frances Osborne.

“We had a great time choosing this list," said Wood. "Discussions weren’t always peaceful, but they were always very friendly. We were lucky in our companions and the submissions were extraordinary.

First awarded in 1969, the prize is recognised as the leading prize for high quality literary fiction written in English. Its list of winners features many literary giants from Salman Rushdie to Hilary Mantel, Iris Murdoch to Ian McEwan.

The selection will be whittled down to a shortlist of six books on 15 September and the overall winner will be announced at a ceremony in London on 13 October, where they'll win the grand prize of £50,000.

For now though, make sure you've read the full list below. 

Did You Ever Have a Family

Did You Ever Have a Family

By American author Bill Clegg

"Lit by the clarity of understanding that true sadness brings, Did You Ever Have a Family is a story that reveals humanity at its worst and best, through loss and love, fracture and forgiveness. At the book’s heart is the idea of family – the ones we are born with and the ones we create – and the desire, in the face of everything, to go on living."

To be published on 17 September, £12.99, Jonathan Cape

The Green Road

The Green Road

By Irish author Anne Enright

"The children of Rosaleen Madigan leave the west of Ireland for lives they never could have imagined in Dublin, New York and various third-world towns.  In her early old age their difficult, wonderful mother announces that she’s decided to sell the house and divide the proceeds. Her adult children come back for a last Christmas, with the feeling that their childhoods are being erased, their personal history bought and sold."

£16.99, Jonathan Cape

A Brief History of Seven Killings

A Brief History of Seven Killings

By Jamaican author Marlon James

"On 3 December 1976, just weeks before the general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica concert to ease political tensions, seven men from West Kingston stormed his house with machine guns. Marley survived and went on to perform at the free concert. But the next day he left the country and didn’t return for two years. Inspired by this near-mythic event, A Brief History of Seven Killingstakes the form of an imagined oral biography, told by ghosts, witnesses, killers, members of parliament, drug dealers, conmen, beauty queens, FBI and CIA agents, reporters, journalists, and even Keith Richards' drug dealer."

£8.99, One World Publications

The Moor's Account Laila Lalami

The Moor's Account

By American author Laila Lalami

"The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami is a work of historical fiction following Estebanico, a Moroccan slave, who is one of four survivors of the failed Narváez expedition to colonise Spanish Florida in the sixteenth century. Of the four, his was the only testimony left off the record. Lalami gives us Estebanico as history never did: as Mustafa, the vibrant merchant from Azemmur forced into slavery and a new name, and reborn as the first black explorer of the Americas, discovering and being discovered by hostile and compassionate tribes alike."

£9.99, Periscope Books

Satin Island

Satin Island

By British author Tom McCarthy 

"A story about U. - a ‘corporate anthropologist’ working for an elite consultancy.  U.’s employers have set him two tasks. First, he must assist in the launching of a great, epoch-defining project which no one, least of all its own architects, fully understands. Second, he has been asked to compose the seemingly impossible: the Great Report – an ethnographic document to sum up our age. Instead, procrastinating, meandering, drifting through endless buffer-zones of information, U. grows obsessed with the images with which the world bombards him on a daily basis: oil spills, African traffic jams, roller-blade processions, zombie parades. Is there a secret logic holding all these things together – a codex that, once cracked, will unlock the master-meaning of our times? Might it have something to do with South Pacific Cargo Cults, or the dead parachutists in the news? Perhaps; perhaps not."

£16.99, Jonathan Cape

The Fishermen Chigozie Obioma

The Fishermen

By Nigerian author Chigozie Obioma

"The Fishermen is set in a small town in Nigeria in the mid-1990s. Four brothers, the youngest is nine, use their strict father's absence from home to go fishing in a forbidden river and encounter a dangerous local madman, Abulu, whose mystic prophecy of violence threatens the very core of their close-knit family.

He predicts that one of the brothers – a fisherman – will kill another. This evil prophecy of violence causes a deep rift between the brothers and starts to break the deep fraternal bonds, unleashing a tragic chain of events."

£14.99, ONE, Pushkin Press 

he Illuminations Andrew O’Hagan

The Illuminations

By British author Andrew O’Hagan

"Anne Quirk’s life is built on stories - the lies she was told by the man she loved and the fictions she told herself to survive. Nobody remembers Anne now, but in her youth she was an artistic pioneer, a creator of groundbreaking documentary photographs. Her beloved grandson Luke, a captain with the Royal Western Fusiliers in the British army, has inherited her habit of transforming reality. When his mission in Afghanistan goes horribly wrong, he returns to Scotland where the secrets that have shaped his family begin to emerge. He and Anne set out to confront a mystery from her past among the Blackpool Illuminations - the dazzling lights that brighten the seaside town as the season turns to winter."

£17.99, Faber and Faber

Lila Marilynne Robinson


By American author Marilynne Robinson

"Neglected as a toddler, Lila was rescued by Doll.  Together they craft a life on the run, living hand-to-mouth with nothing but their sisterly bond.  But despite bouts of petty violence and moments of desperation, their shared life is laced with moments of joy and love. When Lila arrives in Gilead, she struggles to harmonise the life of her makeshift family and their days of hardship, and to forget the shame of her past, until a chance meeting, and an unlikely attachment, changes everything."

£12.99, Virago

Sleeping on Jupiter Anuradha Roy

Sleeping on Jupiter

By Indian author Anuradha Roy

"Jarmuli: a city of temples, a centre of healing on the edge of the ocean.

Nomi, a young girl, is taken from her family and finds herself in an ashram, overseen by a charismatic guru. But Guruji's charm masks a predatory menace, and the young girl faces danger beyond her understanding.

Twenty years later, Nomi returns to Jarmuli with a documentary film crew. All has changed in a town that she no longer knows, as tourists and market traders bustle, banter and chase their dreams amidst the temples of her youth. Seeking the truth about what happened to her and her family, Nomi finds herself chasing shadows in a town that has reinvented itself. But when she returns to the ashram that haunts her dreams, she discovers some scars cannot be washed away."

£16.99, Quercus Books 

The Year of the Runaways Sunjeev Sahota

The Year of the Runaways

By British author Sunjeev Sahota

"Thirteen young men live in a house in Sheffield, each in flight from India and in desperate search of a new life. Tarlochan, a former rickshaw driver, will say nothing about his past in Bihar; and Avtar has a secret that binds him to protect the choatic Randeep. Randeep, in turn, has a visa-wife in a flat on the other side of town: a clever, devout woman whose cupboards are full of her husband's clothes, in case the immigration men surprise her with a call.

Sweeping between India and England, and between childhood and the present day The Year of the Runaways is a story of an unlikely family thrown together by circumstance."

£14.99, panmacmillan.com

The Chimes Anna Smaill

The Chimes

By New Zealand author Anna Smaill

"Anna Smaill has created a world where music has replaced the written word and memories are carried as physical objects. Memory itself is forbidden by the Order, whose vast musical instrument, the Carillon, renders the population amnesiac.

The Chimes opens in a reimagined London and introduces Simon, an orphaned young man who discovers he has a gift that could change all of this forever. Slowly, inexplicably, Simon is beginning to remember – to wake up. He and his friend Lucien will eventually travel to the Order’s stronghold in Oxford, where they learn that nothing they ever believed about their world is true."

£10.49, amazon.co.uk

A Spool of Blue Thread Anne Tyler

A Spool of Blue Thread

By American author Anne Tyler

"'It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…’ This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that day in July 1959. The whole family on the porch, relaxed, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different. Abby and Red are getting older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them and their beloved family home. They’ve all come, even Denny, who can usually be relied on only to please himself.

From that porch we spool back through three generations of the Whitshanks, witnessing the events, secrets and unguarded moments that have come to define who and what they are. And while all families like to believe they are special, round that kitchen table over all those years we see played out the hopes and fears, the rivalries and tensions of families everywhere – the essential nature of family life."

£18.99, Chatto & Windus

A Spool of Blue Thread Anne Tyler

A Little Life

By American author Hanya Yanagihara

"A Little Life is a depiction of heartbreak, and a dark examination of the tyranny of memory and the limits of human endurance.

When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he'll not only be unable to overcome - but that will define his life forever."

£16.99, panmacmillan.com



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