Two books by Irish authors have been included on the 13-strong longlist for the 2010 Man Booker prize - the leading literary award in the English speaking world. Emma Donoghue's Room was one of 14 novels called in by judges – rather than being submitted by the publisher. Room, inspired by the case of Josef Fritzl who kept his daughter prisoner for 24 years, is told entirely in the voice of five-year-old Jack, who lives with his Ma in a locked room. Donoghue says that the book is not a horror story but a celebration of the love between parent and child. Skippy Dies by Paul Murray is the second book by an Irish author on the shortlist. The book is a comic but dark tale of adolescence set in a Dublin boarding school. Parrot and Olivier in America is the favourite to win the 2010 award. Its author, Peter Carey, is one of only two authors to have won the prize twice, in 1988 for Oscar and Lucinda and 2001 for True History of the Kelly Gang. Three authors have been shortlisted before: David Mitchell (in 2001 for number9dream and in 2004 for Cloud Atlas), Damon Galgut (in 2003 for The Good Doctor) and Rose Tremain (shortlisted in 1989 for Restoration).
The 13 shortlisted novels are:
Peter Carey: Parrot and Olivier in America
Emma Donoghue: Room
Helen Dunmore: The Betrayal
Damon Galgut: In a Strange Room
Howard Jacobson: The Finkler Question
Andrea Levy: The Long Song
Tom McCarthy: C
David Mitchell: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
Lisa Moore: February
Paul Murray: Skippy Dies
Rose Tremain: Trespass
Christos Tsiolkas: The Slap
Alan Warner: The Stars in the Bright Sky.
The chair of judges, Andrew Motion, commented:
"Here are thirteen exceptional novels - books we have chosen for their intrinsic quality, without reference to the past work of their authors. Wide-ranging in their geography and their concern, they tell powerful stories which make the familiar strange and cover an enormous range of history and feeling. We feel confident that they will provoke and entertain." Ion Trewin, the Man Booker prize's long-serving administrator said this year's books could be characterised by their humour. "There's been a great deal of laughter this year." A total of 138 books were considered for the prize, 14 of which were called in by the judges rather rather than being submitted by the publisher. The shortlist of six will be announced on September 7th, with the winner revealed on October 12th. The winner will receive £50,000 and can look forward to greatly increased sales and worldwide recognition.