Man Booker 2017

The 13 nominations for the 2017 Man Booker Award have been announced. Cue the music!

The Man Booker Prize is the UK’s most coveted literary award and for a long time, only writers from Britain and its Commonwealth and South Africa were eligible. Since the rules have changed, a Jamaican writer (Marlon James) and an American writer (Paul Beatty) have won. But more than that, I am fascinated by the prize because the committee selects and announces a long list of candidates that they are considering. After a couple months, the nominees are whittled down to a smaller group and that is published and finally, a winner is chosen to much excitement in the literary world. It’s all above board and done in the public eye so that fans of literary fiction can indulge in predicting the shortlist and the eventual winner. It makes for an interesting (if a tad bit nerdy) conversation starter.

As you might remember,  I am working my way through reading previous year’s Booker nominations. For a long time, I was more enamored by the Pulitzer award, the prestigious literary prize in the US, but the election process is completely different. In the US, no one knows what novels are being considered until the winner is selected. No long list, no short list, no excitement, no games. So while I am still interested in the Pulitzer and trying to read my way through the awardees, the Booker Prize inspires my fandom.

The 2017 nominees are:

  1. 4321 /Paul Auster
  2. Days Without End /Sebastian Barry
  3. History of Wolves /Emily Fridlund
  4. Exit West /Mohsin Hamid (Read)
  5. Solar Bones by Mike McCormack
  6. Reservoir 13 /Jon McGregor
  7. Elmet /Fiona Mozley
  8. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness /Arundhati Roy
  9. Lincoln in the Bardo /George Saunders
  10. Home Fire /Kamila Shamsie
  11. Autumn  /Ali Smith
  12. Swing Time /Zadie Smith
  13. The Underground Railroad /Colson Whitehead (Read)

Ironically, the only book I’ve read on the list so far is Whitehead’s Underground Railroad, which won this year’s Pulitzer. I don’t expect it will win the Booker as well but without having read the other novels being considered, there is no way to tell. As you can probably guess, I’ll be working my way through these novels, reading as many of them as I can before the shortlist is announced in September. I have Exit West on my August TBR since I am using it to complete another challenge and a couple others were on my radar of books that I wanted to get to soon. Now, it might be sooner than that. I’ll keep you posted.

What about you? Are you interested in either of these literary awards. Are any of these books on your must-read list? 

Note: This post has been updated to indicate the books I have read from the list.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t yet read any of the books on the list, but there’s a few that I do have on my TBR. Lincoln In the Bardo is one. I’ve been hearing a lot of positive buzz about it. I also want to read Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. I loved her book The God of Small Things. I’ve also read a couple of Zadie Smith’s previous books, so I’m definitely interested in Swing Time. And after winning the Pulitzer, I definitely need to read Underground Railroad. I can’t wait to read your reviews Karen. I have a feeling I’ll be adding even more books!😊


    1. Run Wright says:

      Don’t worry, there is always time to catch up. I am also doing a challenge to read books that were nominated for the prize in previous years as a way to get up to speed on the literary canon 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like to see what makes the Man Booker Prize long list every year, long lists are usually where the gems are for me, before the judges start to narrow things down according to their particular interests/opinions. I also like the Baileys Women’s Prize for its diversity, there are always new authors on that list and its a little more expansive in terms of style – this year it was won by a dystopian novel, not my usual choice, but a thought provoking read. Probably my favourite prize is the Man Booker International, it used to be held every two years and was for a lifetime’s work, by an international author, but it has recently changed and is now an annual award for one book recently published that has been translated into English. There we find a really interesting collection of authors from other countries, fiction in translation is really beginning to take off, and of course this month is #WITMonth, the month where many readers read a few titles by women writers in translation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Run Wright says:

      Thanks for your comment, Clare. I am enjoying all the Booker talk. Also,
      I just heard about #WITMonth earlier today and think it’s a fantastic idea. I have read a few translated works this year. If you haven’t already read them, I’d like to recommend Ananda Devi’s Eve Out Of Her Ruins and Mariana Enriquez’ Things We Lost In The Fire to you. What do you have on your radar for WIT?


      1. I’m going to be reading off my shelf, so another Maryse Condé, probably The Story of the Cannibal Woman since it’s the authors personal favourite, The Complete Claudine by Colette, Iza’s Ballad by Magda Szabo, but so many on my wishlist!

        Liked by 1 person

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