The Man Booker Prize Longlist 2012 has been announced, and it contains a few surprises. Hilary Mantel, Will Self, Michael Frayn and Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng, are on it, but there's no place for Zadie Smith, Martin Amis, or previous winners John Banville or Ian McEwan.
The list contains four debut novels, and only one previous winner, Hilary Mantel, whose book "Bringing up the Bodies" is a sequel to the Booker-winning "Wolf Hall." Small publishers And Other Stories, Salt and Myrmidon are represented, while the big publishing winner is Fourth Estate, with three books on the list. The author Michael Frayn, who has previously been shortlisted for the award, is another notable inclusion.
There are also no Canadian authors on this year's list; nine are British, one is Indian, one is South African and one Malaysian. The oldest (André Brink) is 77 years old, the youngest (Ned Beauman) is 27.
According to a statement issued by jury chairman Peter Stothard, "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."
The Man Booker Prize, whose name includes the title of its principle sponsor alternative investment management company Man, is one of the best-known prizes in English language publishing. Open only to citizens of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland, the jury, which changes each year, is usually made up of a mixture of book industry people and others including actors and politicians.
This year's jury, chaired by the editor of the Times Literary Supplement, includes Dan Stevens, an actor from popular TV show "Downton Abbey."
The Prize was founded in 1969, and though winners receive £50,000 ($77,500), perhaps more importantly their book receives a huge amount of press and bookstore coverage. Last year's winner, "The Sense of an Ending" by Julian Barnes, became a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic. According to the Booker Prize website, 147 books were submitted by publishers for the award this year, up from last year's 138.
The prize receives huge media scrutiny; last year's shortlist was highly criticized for being more "readable" than containing "artistic quality." As a result, The Guardian created "Not The Booker Prize" to reward books seen as having a greater literary merit.
This year's longlist is below. The titles will be reduced to a shortlist of six titles, announced on September 11th, with the winner announced at a gala dinner on October 16th. Who do you think should win?