Books including 'The Lowland' by Jhumpa Lahiri and 'We Need New Names' by NoViolet Bulawayo made the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize this year, and some are calling the shortened list of nominees the best in years.
The novels that made the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize this year are a diverse group, taking place on multiple continents and written by authors who are new on the scene as well as those who are well-established literary talents.
The six books that made the list are “The Testament of Mary” by Colm Toibin, “A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki, “The Lowland” by Jhumpa Lahiri, “We Need New Names” by NoViolet Bulawayo, “The Luminaries” by Eleanor Catton, and “Harvest” by Jim Crace.
The list comes with a couple of firsts: “Mary” is the shortest book ever nominated for the Man Booker at only a little over 100 pages. In addition, Bulawayo is the first black African female author to make the list for her debut novel “Names.”
Crace and Toibin have both made the shortlist of the Booker before – Toibin has made the nominations twice – but Lahiri, Bulawayo, Catton, and Ozeki are all named for the first time.
Chairman of the judging panel Robert Macfarlane said he and his fellow appraisers were searching for “novel novels.”
“We looked for books that sought to extend the power and possibility of the form,” he said in a statement.
The Man Booker Prize will be given out on Oct. 15 and the winner will receive a 50,000 pound (or about $80,000) award. The prize is given to a writer who hails from the UK, Ireland, or one of the countries that is part of the group known as the Commonwealth Nations (this includes Australia, Canada, and others) and whose book is written in English and not self-published.