The shortlist for the Booker Prize was announced Wednesday morning. Two novels by American writers — A LITTLE LIFE (Doubleday/Picador UK) by Hanya Yanagihara, and A SPOON OF BLUE THREAD by Anne Tyler (Knopf/Chatto & Windus) — were included, as were A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (Riverhead/Oneworld), Satin Island by Tom McCarthy (Knopf/Jonathan Cape), The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (Little, Brown/One), and The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota (Knopf 2016/Picador UK).
McCarthy is the only nominee who appeared previously on a Booker Prize shortlist (for C), while Obioma is tied with 2013 winner Eleanor Catton as the youngest Booker finalist (at age 28). It’s a diverse group of authors, and in the UK a diverse group of publishers, though for US editions, Penguin Random House has a 5/6 chance of having the winner in their catalog. Ladbroke’s has Yanagihara as the current odds-on favorite to win — which might be bad news since, as we have noted regularly, with the Booker the favorite almost never wins (except when the favorite is Hilary Mantel).
Knopf Doubleday spokeperson Paul Bogaards tells us there are no plans to move up the US publication date of either The Year of the Runaways (March 2016), or the paperback edition of McCarthy’s Satin Island (though the hardcover will go into a second printing for another 2,500 copies.) Knopf will go back to press for another 10,000 copies for A Spoonful of Blue Thread (to 180,000 copies in print, plus an additional 200,000 ebooks sold to date) while Doubleday will add a 10th printing, of 7500 copies, for A Little Life, which has now sold 22,000 copies in ebook and has more than 45,000 copies in print.
In a statement Booker chair Michael Wood said: “Only on rare occasions does celebration come so closely aligned with regret. The regret of what we left out was tempered by the enormous excitement we have in presenting the six books on the shortlist.We re-read all 13 books on the longlist and in the process we rediscovered new pleasures in each. The writers on the shortlist present an extraordinary range of approaches to fiction. They come from very different cultures and are themselves at very different stages of their careers.”
The winner will be announced on October 13.
The National Book Awards announced the poetry longlist, with nonfiction and fiction to come over the next few days:
Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (University of Pittsburgh Press )
Amy Gerstler, Scattered at Sea (Penguin)
Marilyn Hacker, A Stranger’s Mirror (W. W. Norton)
Terrance Hayes, How to Be Drawn (Penguin)
Jane Hirshfield, The Beauty (Alfred A. Knopf)
Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus (Alfred A. Knopf)
Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions)
Patrick Phillips, Elegy for a Broken Machine (Alfred A. Knopf)
Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Heaven (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Lawrence Raab, Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts (Tupelo Press)