The Man Booker Prize 2017

Literature            Culture & Society

The Man Booker Prize 2017

We've all read a novel, atleast once in our lifetime. We've seen shelves full of them. Reading one feels like - "to travel without moving an inch". Here, we talk about The Man Booker Prize, The Longlist and Shortlist 2017 and The Man Booker International Prize


"A good book ... leaves you wanting to reread the book. A great book compels you to reread your own soul" - from the 2014 Booker Prize winning novelist, Richard Flanagan's novel 'The Narrow Road to the Deep North'.

The Man Booker Prize for fiction commonly known as the Booker Prize, is the highest literary honor in the English speaking world. Greeted with great anticipation and fan-fare, it marks a distinction for authors to be nominated in the shortlist or even in the longlist. The Booker Prize winner is generally assured international fame and success, making it a great significance in the literaturary circles. The prize is awarded each year for the best original novel, written in the english language and published in the UK.
Established in 1969, the prize was originally known as the Booker-McConnell Prize, after the company Booker, McConnell Ltd started sponsoring the event. In 2002, when the administration of the prize was transferred to the Booker Prize Foundation in 2002, Man Group, an investment company became the title sponsorer and retained "Booker" as part of the official title. The prize money awarded is £ 51,000, making it one of the world's richest literary prizes. Since it's inception there has been quite a few controversies. The award was also criticised for the types of book it covers. The Oxford Brookes University comprises of an archive, which comprises the administrative history of the prize from 1968 to date, also collects together a diverse range of materials, including copies of both the Shortlists and the Longlists.

"Maybe if I'd been someone else I'd see it differently. But isn't that the crux of the problem? Wouldn't we all act differently if we were someone else?" - from History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund, selected in the 2017 Longlist.

As of this writing, 2017 Longlist is declared. So, this gives us the next question, who will be on the Shortlist? The Longlist comprises of three novels already festooned with awards - a National Book, the Carnegie Medal for Fiction, the Heartland Prize, the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the Pulitzer Prize for The Underground Railroad, a Costa novel and book of the year double for Days Without End and the Goldsmiths prize for the Solar Bones. Along with these high contenders, Saunders and McGregor, respectively former Folio and Impac winners, appear to be high up for the more conventional reason of success.

The 2017 Longlist:

  1. 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster (US) (Faber & Faber)
  2. Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Ireland) (Faber & Faber)
  3. History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (US) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
  4. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan-UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
  5. Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Ireland) (Canongate)
  6. Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (UK) (4th Estate)
  7. Elmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) (JM Originals)
  8. The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (India) (Hamish Hamilton)
  9. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US) (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  10. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (UK-Pakistan) (Bloomsbury Circus)
  11. Autumn by Ali Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
  12. Swing Time by Zadie Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
  13. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (US) (Fleet)

With the above 13, the Longlist is pretty diverse. The list contains three debut novelists: Fiona Mozley, Emily Fridlund and George Saunders(Saunders has published several short story collections).

The selections in the longlist makes the The Underground Railroad(Colson Whitehead) a certain to be selected for the Shortlist, along with Reservoir 13(John McGregor), Lincoln In The Bardo(George Saunders) and Days Without The End(Sebastian Barry). Solar Bones(Mike McCormack) and Home Fire(Kamila Shamsie) also has certain possibilities to enter the Shortlist.

The Shortlist will be announced on 13th September, 2017 while the winner will be declared on 17th October, 2017. The winner will be judged by Baroness Lola Young, Lila Azam Zanganeh, Sarah Hall, Tom Phillips CBE RA and Colin Thubron CBE.

The Man Booker International Prize:
The Man Booker International prize was announced in 2004 and was first awarded in 2005. The inaugural winner was Albanian writer Ismail Kadare. From 2005, until 2015, it was awarded every two years to a living author of any nationality for a body of work published in English or generally available in English translation. It rewarded one author's "continued creativity, development and overall contribution to fiction on the world stage", and was a recognition of the writer's body of work rather than any one title. On July 7 2015, the Booker Prize Foundation announced that from 2016 onwards the Man Booker International Prize was to be a prize for fiction in translation, the aim being, encouraging publishing and reading of quality works in translation and to highlight the work of translators. The award is now given annually to a book in English translation, with a £ 50,000 prize for the winning title, to be shared equally between author and translator.
The winner of 2017 Man Booker International prize is David Grossman and Jessica Cohen(translator) for their work in 'A Horse Walks Into A Bar', published by Jonathan Cape.