Man Booker Prize 2014 shortlist announced

09 September 2014

  • The first year that the prize is open to all authors writing in English, regardless of nationality
  • Howard Jacobson in the running to be the first British man to win twice

Joshua Ferris, Richard Flanagan, Karen Joy Fowler, Howard Jacobson, Neel Mukherjee and Ali Smith are today, Tuesday 9 September, announced as the shortlisted authors for the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Their names were revealed by chair of judges, AC Grayling, at a press conference at the headquarters of Man Group, a leading investment management firm and the prize’s sponsor since 2002.

The judges praised the ‘depth and range’ of the list, which includes writers from Britain, the United States and Australia.

The shortlist of six, taken from a longlist of 13, is:

Author (nationality) Title (publisher)
Joshua Ferris (US) To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)
Richard Flanagan (Australian) The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus)
Karen Joy Fowler (US) We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent's Tail)
Howard Jacobson (British) J (Jonathan Cape)
Neel Mukherjee (British) The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)
Ali Smith (British) How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton)

Chair of the 2014 judges, AC Grayling, comments on behalf of the judges:

‘We are delighted to announce our international shortlist. As the Man Booker Prize expands its borders, these six exceptional books take the reader on journeys around the world, between the UK, New York, Thailand, Italy, Calcutta and times past, present and future.

‘We had a lengthy and intensive debate to whittle the list down to these six. It is a strong, thought-provoking shortlist which we believe demonstrates the wonderful depth and range of contemporary fiction in English.’

This is the first list to reflect the diversity of the novel in English regardless of the author’s nationality, as the Man Booker Prize has opened up to any author writing originally in English and published in the UK. Previously, the prize was open to authors from the UK & Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.

Two authors have previously appeared on the prize shortlist. Howard Jacobson is a former winner of the prize, with The Finkler Question, in 2010. Ali Smith has been shortlisted twice before, with The Accidental (2005) and Hotel World (2001).

AC Grayling is joined on the 2014 panel of judges by: Jonathan Bate; Sarah Churchwell; Daniel Glaser; Alastair Niven and Erica Wagner. The 2014 judges will now re-read the shortlisted titles in order to select the winner, whose name will be revealed on Tuesday 14 October 2014 at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall. The winner announcement will be televised by the BBC, the prize’s media partner.

Man Group has sponsored the prize since 2002. A leading investment management firm, Man Group was recognised as a partner who mirrored the quality, integrity and longevity of the Booker Prize.

Manny Roman, CEO of Man Group, comments:

‘We are very proud to sponsor the Man Booker Prize, recognising the hard work and creativity of these talented authors. The prize underscores Man Group's charitable focus on literacy and education as well as our commitment to excellence and entrepreneurship. Together with the wider charitable activities of the Man Booker Foundation, the prize plays a very important role in promoting literary excellence that we are honoured to support. Many congratulations to the shortlisted authors.’

The shortlisted authors will take part in a series of public events in the week leading up to the winner announcement, to include: an event for members of the public and UK library staff at the Library of Birmingham on Wednesday 8 October; a talk and signing at The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival on Saturday 11 October and an audience with the authors at the Southbank Centre on Monday 13 October, hosted by broadcaster Kirsty Wark. Finally, there will be an audience with the winner at Apple’s Regent Street branch on Thursday 16 October.

The Man Booker Prize, formerly the Booker Prize, was first awarded in 1969 to PH Newby for Something to Answer For. It is widely regarded as a touchstone for high quality literary fiction written in English, including in its canon many of the literary trailblazers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: from Salman Rushdie to Hilary Mantel, Iris Murdoch to Peter Carey.

The rules of the prize changed at the end of 2013, to embrace ‘the freedom of English in all its vigour, its vitality, its versatility and its glory wherever it may be’, opening up to writers beyond the UK and Commonwealth. Other changes this year include the number of books a publisher can submit, based on their success in longlists over the previous five years.

The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. On winning the Man Booker Prize, an author will receive a further £50,000 and can expect overnight fame and international recognition, not to mention a dramatic increase in book sales. Sales of Hilary Mantel’s winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, have exceeded a million copies in their UK editions published by Fourth Estate. Granta, publisher of Eleanor Catton’s 2013 winner, The Luminaries, has sold 300,000 copies of the book in the UK and almost 500,000 worldwide.

 Full press release

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