Man Booker Prize 2012 shortlist announced

11 September 2012

Man Booker Prize 2012 shortlist announced

Deborah Levy, Hilary Mantel, Alison Moore, Will Self, Tan Twan Eng and Jeet Thayil are the six shortlisted authors in contention for the Man Booker Prize 2012, it is announced today, Tuesday 11 September 2012.

The judges praised the powerful language and artistry displayed in the six books, whose common themes include old age, memory and loss.

The six books, selected from the longlist of 12, are:

Author: Title (Publisher)
Tan Twan Eng The Garden of Evening Mists (Myrmidon Books)
Deborah Levy Swimming Home (And Other Stories)
Hilary Mantel Bring up the Bodies (Fourth Estate)
Alison Moore The Lighthouse (Salt)
Will Self Umbrella (Bloomsbury)
Jeet Thayil Narcopolis (Faber & Faber)


At the time of the longlist announcement, Chair of judges Sir Peter Stothard commented ‘the new has come powering through’. This remains true of the shortlist, which includes two first novels, from Indian author Jeet Thayil and East Midlands-based Alison Moore, and three small publishers from Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Myrmidon Books), North Norfolk (Salt Publishing) and High Wycombe (And Other Stories).

In an interesting development, Deborah Levy’s novel, Swimming Home, is now co-published by And Other Stories and Faber & Faber, following a collaboration on a mass-market edition after Levy was longlisted.

Of the six authors, two have previously been linked to the prize. Hilary Mantel won the prize in 2009 with Wolf Hall, the first of her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, and was longlisted in 2005 for Beyond Black. Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng was longlisted for the prize in 2007 with his debut novel, The Gift of Rain. Four novelists, including Will Self, a radical of contemporary literature, appear on the list for the first time.

The shortlist was announced by Sir Peter Stothard, Chair of judges and Editor of the Times Literary Supplement, at a press conference held at the Man Group’s London headquarters.

Sir Peter comments: ‘After re-reading an extraordinary longlist of twelve, it was the pure power of prose that settled most debates. We loved the shock of language shown in so many different ways and were exhilarated by the vigour and vividly defined values in the six books that we chose - and in the visible confidence of the novel's place in forming our words and ideas.’

Stothard was joined at the press conference by the four other members of the 2012 Man Booker Prize judging panel: Dinah Birch, academic and literary critic; Amanda Foreman, historian, writer and broadcaster; Dan Stevens, actor; and Bharat Tandon, academic, writer and reviewer.

This year’s winner will be announced on Tuesday 16 October 2012, at a dinner at London’s Guildhall, where the announcement of the winner will be televised by the BBC. Each shortlisted author will receive £2,500 and a specially commissioned handbound edition of their book. The winner will receive a further £50,000. The winner may also expect a significant increase in sales of their book: Julian Barnes’ The Sense of An Ending (Jonathan Cape, Random House), which won the 2011 prize, has now sold over 300,000 in the UK in print copies alone.

Ahead of the announcement, there will be a number of public events with the shortlisted authors including, for the first time this year, Man Booker Live: a collaboration between the Man Booker Prize and Picturehouse Entertainment to broadcast ‘Prize Readings’, an evening with the 2012 shortlisted authors at the Royal Festival Hall at London’s Southbank Centre on Monday 15 October. Cinemas across the UK will screen the event, chaired by former judge and BBC Radio 4 presenter James Naughtie, the night before the winner ceremony. Other events include a panel discussion at The Times Cheltenham Literary Festival on Saturday 13 October and an audience with the winner at the Apple store, Covent Garden, on Thursday 18 October.

More details of these events and further information about the prize can be found on the Man Booker Prize website

For all press enquiries please contact:

Katy MacMillan-Scott or Amy Barder at Four Colman Getty
Office: 020 3023 9076 (Katy) / 020 3023 9055 (Amy)
Mobile: 07786567887 (Katy) / 07956337231 (Amy) /

Notes to Editors

  • The six shortlisted books were chosen from a longlist of 12 books. They were:
Author: Title (Publisher)
Nicola Barker The Yips (Fourth Estate)
Ned Beauman The Teleportation Accident (Sceptre)
André Brink Philida (Harvill Secker)
Tan Twan Eng The Garden of Evening Mists (Myrmidon Books)
Michael Frayn Skios (Faber & Faber)
Rachel Joyce The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Doubleday)
Deborah Levy Swimming Home (And Other Stories)
Hilary Mantel Bring up the Bodies (Fourth Estate)
Alison Moore The Lighthouse (Salt)
Will Self Umbrella (Bloomsbury)
Jeet Thayil Narcopolis (Faber & Faber)
Sam Thompson Communion Town (Fourth Estate)
  • The longlisted books were selected from a total of 145 titles, 11 of which were called in by the judges.
  • Each year UK publishers may submit two full-length novels written by a citizen of the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland or Zimbabwe and published between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2012. Any title by an author who has previously been shortlisted for the prize may be submitted.
  • Julian Barnes won the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction with The Sense of an Ending (Jonathan Cape). The book has now sold over 300,000 in the UK in hard copy alone
  • The Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969, and Man was announced as the sponsor of the prize in April 2002. In October 2011, a renewed sponsorship agreement was announced which assured the future of the prize. For a full history of the prize including previous winners, shortlisted authors and judges visit the website:
  • The Booker Prize Foundation Advisory Committee, which advises on any changes to the rules and on the selection of the judges, represents all sides of the book world. Its members are:

    Ion Trewin, Chair (Literary Director, Booker Prize Foundation); Richard Cable, publisher; Mark Chilton, Company Secretary and General Counsel of Booker Group plc; Peter Clarke, Chief Executive, Man; Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust; Maggie Fergusson, writer and Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature; Basil Comely, BBC TV; Derek Johns, literary agent; Peter Kemp, Chief Fiction Reviewer, The Sunday Times; James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstone’s; Nigel Newton, publisher; Fiammetta Rocco, literary editor, The Economist (Man Booker International Prize Administrator); Eve Smith (Company Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation); and Robert Topping; Topping & Company Booksellers

  • The Booker Prize Foundation is a registered charity (no 1090049) which, since 2002, has been responsible for the award of the prize. The trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation are former Chairman of Booker plc, Jonathan Taylor CBE (Chair); Lord Baker of Dorking CH; playwright and President of the Royal Literary Fund, Sir Ronald Harwood CBE; Principal of Mansfield College Oxford and former Chair of the British Council, Baroness Kennedy QC; Professor of Creative Writing, Royal Holloway College University of London and former Poet Laureate, Sir Andrew Motion; broadcaster, James Naughtie; biographer, Victoria Glendinning and former Finance Director of Rentokil plc, Christopher Pearce. Martyn Goff CBE, former Man Booker Prize administrator, is President of the Foundation and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne and Baroness Neuberger are Vice Presidents
  • Man is a world-leading alternative investment management business. It has expertise in a wide range of liquid investment styles including managed futures, equity, credit and convertibles, emerging markets, global macro and multi-manager, combined with powerful product structuring, distribution and client service capabilities. As of June 30 2012, Man managed $52.7 billion.

    The original business was founded in 1783. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE 250 Index with a market capitalisation of around £ 1.4 billion. Man is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). Man also supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world, including sponsorship of the Man Booker literary prizes.

  • Booker is the UK's leading food wholesaler with over 170 branches nationwide. It serves over 350,000 independent businesses
  • The Booker Prize Foundation has a longstanding partnership with the RNIB, and the Foundation funds the production by RNIB of the shortlist in formats for the visually impaired including braille, giant print and Talking Books
  • The Booker Prize Archive was given on loan in 2003 to Oxford Brookes University where it now resides

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