The longlist for the 2015 Man Booker Prize has been revealed and it’s dominated by female authors.
There are seven women and six men on the list, as well as six writers of colour. The book I’m most excited to see on the list is The Chimes by Anna Smaill.
Published in February, it’s one of my favourite books of the year so far but it hasn’t yet garnered the priase that it deserves so I hope this will do the job.
Smaill’s novel is a beautiful, lyrical literary dystopia set in London and Oxford in a world where music has replaced the written word.
More predictably, although just as pleasing, is the inclusion of Hanya Yanagihara’s, A Little Life. It’s over 700 pages long and rather bleak but she’s an extraordinarily talented writer and the book just sings. If I were to take an early punt on guessing the ultimate winner, this is where my money would be.
There are always a few disappointments with prize lists; for me the three books I’m particularly sad not to see are Benjamin Wood’s The Ecliptic, Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last and Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins but hopefully the Baileys prize will accommodate the last two next year.
At the top of my yet unread list is Sunjeev Sahota’s, The Year of the Runaways. I’m also intrigued by the premise of Anuradha Roy’s Sleeping on Jupiter which opens with a girl jumping off a train in India.
For me, whether I agree with the lists or not, book prizes are the best way to discover new books that aren’t already on your radar.
The Man Booker gives a spotlight to books that you may never have come across otherwise. My mourning period for the books that didn’t make it will be brutally brief as I embrace seeking out some new favourites.
The complete long list for the 2015 Man Booker Prize:
Did You Ever Have a Family (Jonathan Cape), Bill Clegg (US)
The Green Road (Jonathan Cape), Anne Enright (Ireland)
A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld Publications), Marlon James (Jamaica)
The Moor’s Account (Periscope, Garnet Publishing), Laila Lalami (US)
Satin Island (Jonathan Cape), Tom McCarthy (UK)
The Fishermen (One, Pushkin Press), Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria)
The Illuminations (Faber & Faber), Andrew O’Hagan (UK)
Lila (Virago), Marilynne Robinson (US)
Sleeping on Jupiter (MacLehose Press, Quercus), Anuradha Roy (India)
The Year of the Runaways (Picador), Sunjeev Sahota (UK)
The Chimes (Sceptre), Anna Smaill (New Zealand)
A Spool of Blue Thread (Chatto & Windus), Anne Tyler (US)
A Little Life (Picador), Hanya Yanagihara
Words by Anna James, ELLE Literary Editor