Man Booker Prize 2015 shortlist announced

15 September 2015

  • First Jamaican-born author to be shortlisted
  • One former nominee, Tom McCarthy, makes list
  • Judges praise diversity of shortlist which includes one debut writer and a wide cultural heritage

Marlon James, Tom McCarthy, Chigozie Obioma, Sunjeev Sahota, Anne Tyler and Hanya Yanagihara are today, Tuesday 15 September, announced as the shortlisted authors for the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

The six names were announced by Chair of judges, Michael Wood, at a press conference at the offices of sponsor Man Group.

The judges remarked on the variety of writing styles, cultural heritage and literary backgrounds of the writers on the shortlist, which includes new authors alongside established names. Two authors come from the United Kingdom, two from the United States and one apiece from Jamaica and Nigeria.

This is the second year that the prize, first awarded in 1969, has been open to writers of any nationality, writing originally in English and published in the UK. Previously, the prize was open only to authors from the UK & Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.

2015 Man Booker Shortlist

The 2015 shortlist of six novels is:

Author (nationality) Title (publisher)
Marlon James (Jamaica) A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld Publications)
Tom McCarthy (UK) Satin Island (Jonathan Cape)
Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) The Fishermen (One, Pushkin Press)
Sunjeev Sahota (UK) The Year of the Runaways (Picador)
Anne Tyler (US) A Spool of Blue Thread (Chatto & Windus)
Hanya Yanagihara (US) A Little Life (Picador)

Michael Wood comments:

‘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.’

Tom McCarthy is the only shortlisted author to have been nominated before, having been shortlisted for C in 2010.

Marlon James is the first Jamaican-born author to be shortlisted for the prize. Chigozie Obioma is the second Nigerian to be nominated, after Ben Okri. Of the six authors, two are resident in the UK and four in the United States.

At 28, Chigozie Obioma is the youngest of this year’s shortlisted authors, the same age as 2013 winner Eleanor Catton.

Two independent publishers make it to the shortlist: Oneworld Publications and ONE, an imprint of Pushkin Press. Penguin Random House have two authors on the list (from their Jonathan Cape and Chatto & Windus imprints), as does Picador, an imprint of Pan Macmillan.

Michael Wood is joined on the 2015 panel of judges by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, John Burnside, Sam Leith and Frances Osborne. The judges considered 156 books for this year’s 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 of all nationalities writing in English. 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 2015 winner announcement

The 2015 winner will be announced on Tuesday 13 October in London’s Guildhall at a black-tie dinner that brings together the shortlisted authors and well-known figures from the literary world. The ceremony will be broadcast by the BBC.

In the meantime, there will be a number of public events featuring the shortlisted authors, including the Radio Times Festival (Sunday 27 September), Birmingham Literature Festival (Thursday 8 October) and two events at The Times & The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival (Saturday 10 September).

The traditional Man Booker Prize Readings will take place at the Southbank Centre on the eve of the prize, 12 October, hosted by Mariella Frostrup.

There will be two further events with the winning author: at Stylist LIVE on 15 October and at Apple’s Covent Garden store on 16 October.

A special Man Booker Prize edition of Artsnight will air on BBC Two on Friday 9 October.

The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. The winner will receive a further £50,000 and can expect international recognition.

Winning the Man Booker Prize

From longlist stage onwards, the ‘Man Booker Dozen’ receives widespread interest from the media, booksellers and the public, in the form of critical engagement, media coverage and escalated book sales.

Last year’s winning novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, has sold 300,000 copies in the UK and almost 800,000 worldwide.

Following her second win in 2012, Hilary Mantel topped the UK Nielsen BookScan chart with the sales of Bring up the Bodies, her sequel to Wolf Hall which won in 2009. Sales of her winning novels together exceeded a million copies in their UK editions. The BBC’s television adaptation and the theatre adaptations by the Royal Shakespeare Company of both novels have been widely praised.

Other winning novels have gone on to have second or third lives as stage and screen adaptations; examples include Schindler’s Ark (directed by Steven Spielberg as Schindler’s List), The Remains of the Day and The English Patient.

The leading prize for quality fiction in English

First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognised as the leading prize for high quality literary fiction written in English. Its list of winners features many of the giants of the last four decades: from Salman Rushdie to Hilary Mantel, Iris Murdoch to Ian McEwan.

Man Group has sponsored the prize since 2002. One of the world’s largest independent alternative investment managers, Man Group was recognised as a partner who mirrored the quality, integrity and longevity of the Booker Prize.

To hear the most up-to-date news on this year’s prize, listen to the Man Booker Prize Podcast series, watch the Man Booker Prize vloggers on YouTube, or learn more about the prize’s history and share your thoughts online, visit: www.themanbookerprize.com

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