Attention all book lovers the Man Booker 2012 long-list was announced at 3.30pm today (Wednesday 25 July) causing twitter to go into bookish over-drive – bliss for someone like me but probably painful for the non-reader!
This year marks the 44th anniversary of the prize and over the years it has become an extremely coveted literary award with all books receiving a huge promotional boost with the buzz surrounding each stages announcement. Fittingly in 2012, 12 books have been chosen (last year there were 13, with Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending winning) from a panel made up of Dan Stevens, Dinah Birch, Amanda Foreman, Bharat Tandon, and chair Sir Peter Stothard. In total 145 titles were read and digested by the judges with the final cut being:
Author, Title (Publisher)
Nicola Barker, The Yips (Fourth Estate)
Ned Beauman, The Teleportation Accident (Sceptre)
André Brink, Philida (Harvill Secker)
Tan Twan Eng, The Garden of Evening Mists (Myrmidon Books)
Michael Frayn, Skios (Faber & Faber)
Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Doubleday)
Deborah Levy, Swimming Home (And Other Stories)
Hilary Mantel, Bring up the Bodies (Fourth Estate)
Alison Moore, The Lighthouse (Salt)
Will Self, Umbrella (Bloomsbury)
Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis (Faber & Faber)
Sam Thompson, Communion Town (Fourth Estate)
Peter Stothard, commented on the Man Booker Prize website:
“Goodness, madness and bewildering urban change are among the themes of this year’s longlist. In an extraordinary year for fiction the ‘Man Booker Dozen’ proves the grip that the novel has on our world. We did not set out to reject the old guard but, after a year of sustained critical argument by a demanding panel of judges, the new has come powering through.”
Of those selected there are a few big hitters (no surprise really that Bring up the Bodies made it on after the author won in 2009 for Wolf Hall) but this is mixed with four debut novels and three from independent publishers. Of the 12 authors, seven are men and five women; nine are British, one Indian, one South African and one Malaysian. The eldest on the list is Andre Brink at 77 and the youngest is Ned Beauman at 27.
The shortlist of six will be announced on 11 September with the winner having to wait another month until the grand ceremonial dinner on 16 October. He or she will win £50,000, but the prize is worth much more than that. Apart from the kudos, the winner can expect a dramatic upturn in sales and scores more people reading & discussing their work, which is surely more of a reward than the pay-cheque!
For further information about the prize visit the revamped Man Booker Prize website or follow them on Twitter @ManBookerPrize
I must confess that I haven't read any of these yet (I'll let you know when I do) but what do you think dear readers? Have you read any of this years’ long-list? Has your favourite author made it on? Is there a book you enjoyed so much this year you are outraged it didn't make the grade? Are any in your to-read pile? Will you use this as a guide to what to read next? Or are you left unswayed by book prizes when considering what to buy?