Monday, 21 September 2009

Man Booker Prize 2009 Shortlist

The Children's Book by A. S. ByattThe shortlist for the Man Booker Prize 2009 was announced on September 8th. Chosen from a longlist of 13, the shortlisted titles are:
The Children's Book by A. S. Byatt
Summertime by J. M. Coetzee
The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
The Glass Room by Simon Mawer
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.
Having previously won in 1999 with Disgrace and in 1983 with Life & Times of Michael K, South African writer J.M. Coetzee would be the first author to win the Man Booker Prize three times if successful this year. A.S. Byatt is in the running for a second win - her novel Possession won the Booker Prize in 1990. Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black was longlisted in 2005 and both Mantel and Byatt have been judges of the prize. Sarah Waters has been shortlisted twice for Fingersmith in 2002 and The Night Watch in 2006. Adam Foulds and Simon Mawer are newcomers to the shortlist.
There is a strong focus on historical fiction in this year’s list. Mantel's Wolf Hall is a piece of historical fiction set in the court of Henry VIII and centering on the character of Thomas Cromwell and is the critics’ favourite to win the prize. The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds centres on the incarceration of the great nature poet John Clare in an asylum in the 1840s. Byatt’s The Children’s Book follows the intersecting fortunes of four families across a quarter of a century from 1895 to the aftermath of the first world war. Sarah Water’s The Little Stranger is the people's choice for this year's prize selling some 50% more copies than any other title longlisted for the award. Her book is a chilling ghost story set in postwar Britain. The Glass Room by Simon Mawer is set in Czechoslovakia in the 1930s. It follows a newly-wed couple, a Jew and a gentile, as their optimism fades when the storm clouds of the Second World War gather and the family must flee. Coetzee’s Summertime is the third volume in his trilogy of fictionalised memoir that began with Boyhood and Youth. Summertime tells the story of an English biographer, writing a book about the late author John Coetzee. Three Irish authors – Colm Toibin (who has been shortlisted twice), William Trevor (shortlisted four times) and Ed O’Loughlin – featured on the longlist but missed out on reaching the shortlist. The winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be revealed on Tuesday 6 October 2009. The winning author will receive £50,000 and can look forward to greatly increased sales and worldwide recognition. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga was the winner of the 2008 prize. See for more information.

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