Today the longlist for the Man Booker 2014 literary prize was released, and long-time readers of this blog will know how much I love the Man Booker prize.
For the first time, writers from the USA were allowed to be included, and as expected this led to a decrease in the number of countries represented and an increase in the number of US-based works, (with Britain boasting a fair few of the thirteen positions, too).
The nominees are, (drumroll):Joshua Ferris – ‘To Rise Again at a Decent Hour’ Richard Flanagan – ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’ Karen Joy Fowler – ‘We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves’ Siri Hustvedt – ‘The Blazing World’ Howard Jacobson – ‘J’ Paul Kingsnorth – ‘The Wake’ David Mitchell – ‘The Bone Clocks’ Neel Mukherjee – ‘The Lives of Others’ David Nicholls – ‘Us’ Joseph O’Neill – ‘The Dog’ Richard Powers – ‘Orfeo’ Ali Smith – ‘How To Be Both’ Niall Williams – ‘History of the Rain’
I have read a grand total of zero of these books. I have read a grand total of four of these authors’ previous works, and loved them all, (everything by David Mitchell; Joshua Ferris‘s hilarious debut ‘Then We Came To The End;’ the impressive ‘The Accidental‘ by Ali Smith; and at my first ever Hay Literature Festival, waaay back in 2002, I was lucky enough to meet the incredibly sweet Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan and loved every page, word and picture in his ‘Gould’s Book Of Fish; a novel in twelve fish.’
(Yes, that’s right, I appear to be the only person alive not to have read a David Nicholls novel!)
Also excitingly, for the first time a book has been nominated for the list after having been crowd-funded by Unbound, a crowd-sourcing publisher whose launch I was also able to be present for at the Hay Festival a few years ago, supported by ex-Python Terry Jones, among others. The fact that Paul Kingsnorth’s ‘The Wake‘ is written in an invented Anglo-Saxon dialogue makes me twice as excited. Is that normal?
In short, I plan to make up for my lack of reading/blogging over these past few footballing months by reading most, if not all of the books on the list, and letting you know about them.
Sound good? Good.
(As proof of my dedication to the cause, I just went straight to the Unbound website and ordered a copy of ‘The Wake,’ so that will be waiting for me when I get back to the UK next week, and will be the first one to appear here probably!)