Lots of chances at the Man Booker Prize - Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA

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News | PenguinRandomHouse | London/New York/Toronto, 07/28/2017

Lots of chances at the Man Booker Prize

The longlist for the British Man Booker Prize, one of the most important literary awards in the English-speaking world, is traditionally known as the “Man Booker Dozen.” Merely being included on this list, which actually contains 13 titles, is already considered a high literary honor. This year, four Penguin Random House UK titles made it onto the longlist for the £50,000 prize, all published by Hamish Hamilton. But their Penguin Random House colleagues in the U.S. and Canada also have a number of nominations to celebrate.

Arundhati Roy knows very well what a positive impact the Man Booker Prize can have on an author’s career: Exactly 20 years ago she won the prestigious prize with her debut novel “The God of Small Things.” The activist and critic of globalization subsequently concentrated on her political work and wrote a series of nonfiction books. It was only last year that her second novel “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” was published, and it now has hopes of winning her another Man Booker Prize.

Ali Smith, too, is something of an old hand at Man Booker nominations. The Scottish author, who lives in England, has already made it onto the shortlist, i.e. been one of the six finalists, three times: In 2001 with “Hotel World,” in 2005 with “The Accidental” and in 2014 with “How to Be Both.” Now she has scored her fourth nomination for “Autumn.” Zadie Smith from London, too, has previously been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize with her 2005 novel “On Beauty.” Now her latest work “Swing Time” has a chance of winning the prize. The fourth longlisted novel from Penguin Random House UK is “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid. The Pakistani author was also longlisted in 2007 with his bestseller “The Reluctant Fundamentalist.”

Fingers crossed in the U.S. and Canada, too

Penguin Random House’s U.S. publishers also have a knack for publishing new books, as evidenced by their collective eight placements on this year's Man Booker longlist: “Autumn” by Ali Smith (Pantheon hardcover and e-book, Anchor paperback), “Days Without End” by Sebastian Barry (Viking hardcover & e-book, Penguin paperback), “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead hardcover & e-book, Penguin audio download), “Home Fire” by Kamila Shamsie (Riverhead hardcover & e-book, Penguin audio download), “Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders (Random House, Random House audio), “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” by Arundhati Roy (Knopf hardcover & e-book, Random House Audio), “Swing Time” by Zadie Smith (Penguin hardcover & e-book, Penguin paperback & audio) & “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday hardcover & e-book, Random House audio). In Canada, as in the U.K., four Penguin Random House books are longlisted: “4 3 2 1” by Paul Auster (McClelland & Stewart), “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” by Arundhati Roy (Hamish Hamilton Canada), “Autumn” by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton Canada) and “Swing Time” by Zadie Smith (Hamish Hamilton Canada). 

The longlist for the Man Booker Prize 2017 was selected by a panel of five judges, chaired by the author Baroness Lola Young. There were 144 submissions from publishers, which were or will be published between 1 October 2016 and 30 September 2017. “Only when we’d finally selected our13 novels did we fully realize the huge energy, imagination and variety in them as a group,” says Lola Young“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.”

In addition to the literary honor and prize money, the winner of this year's Man Booker Prize can also hope for a strong increase in sales of their books. According to the prize organizers, sales of “The Sellout” by Paul Beatty increased by 658 percent in the week following its announcement as the 2016 winner. To date, the book has sold more than 360,000 copies and has sold the translation rights in 26 languages. The last time a Penguin Random House author had won the prestigious award was the year before that, 2015, when it went to the Jamaican Marlon James for his book “A Brief History of Seven Killings” published in the U.S. and Canada by the Riverhead/Penguin Publishing Group. In 2014, it was won by the Australian Richard Flanagan for“The Narrow Road to the Deep North,” published internationally by Penguin Random House.

In the next step, the judges will select a shortlist of six titles from the 2017 longlist, to be announced on Sep 13 at a press conference in London. This year's winner will be announced on Oct 17 at a gala dinner at London's Guildhall. The award ceremony will be broadcast by the BBC.