A Few Brief Thoughts on the 2017 Man Booker Prize Longlist

This past week, the Man Booker Prize judges panel announced the longlist, a selection of 13 novels, written in English, which are eligible to win the coveted Man Booker Prize this fall.

When perusing the list, particularly with my increasingly honed eye for the representation of women and writers of color, this list has some applause-worthy moments. SIX of the 13 authors are women. FIVE are people of color, many of whom are writing about racial tensions and immigration. THREE are debut novels – “Elmet” by Fiona Mozley, “History of Wolves” by Emily Fridlund, and George Saunders’ “Lincoln in the Bardo”, a debut novel from a celebrated short-story writer. SIX of the nominees are veterans of Booker nomination – Arundhati Roy, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, Sebastian Barry, Mohsin Hamid and Jon McGregor.

As Baroness Lola Young, chair of the 2017 judges, says: ‘Only when we’d finally selected our 13 novels did we fully realise the huge energy, imagination and variety in them as a group.  The longlist showcases a diverse spectrum — not only of voices and literary styles but of protagonists too, in their culture, age and gender.  Nevertheless we found there was a spirit common to all these novels: though their subject matter might be turbulent, their power and range were life-affirming – a tonic for our times.’

It’s an exciting list into which I look forward to diving deeply. A few of the selections were already on my teetering TBR, while others have burst onto my lists by virtue of this nomination. Thus far, I have read only four of the thirteen nominees. For my reviews of these works, see the links below.

Moshin Hamid – Exit West
George Saunders – Lincoln in the Bardo
Zadie Smith – Swing Time
Colson Whitehead – The Underground Railroad

For more information about this year’s Man Booker Prize longlist, click here.

3 thoughts on “A Few Brief Thoughts on the 2017 Man Booker Prize Longlist”

  1. I’ve only read Exit West out of the 13 books nominated, and it’s one of my favorite books of the year. A lot of these books are already on my TBR, and them being longlisted for the Man Booker makes me even more excited to get to them 🙂


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