Paul Beatty, Deborah Levy, Graeme Macrae Burnet, Ottessa Moshfegh, David Szalay and Madeleine Thien are announced as the six shortlisted authors for the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
Their names were announced by 2016 Chair of judges, Dr. Amanda Foreman, at a press conference at the offices of sponsor Man Group.
The judges remarked on the role of the novel in exploring culture and in tackling unfamiliar and challenging subjects, and on the shortlisted authors’ willingness to play with language and form. The shortlist features a variety of voices, from new names to award winners. The books cover a diverse range of subjects, from murder in 19th century Scotland to classical music in Revolutionary China.
In the third year that the prize has been open to writers of any nationality, the shortlist is an even split between two British, two US and two Canadian writers. Three novels from Penguin Random House are shortlisted alongside three from small, independent publishers.
2016 Man Booker Shortlist
The 2016 shortlist of six novels is:
Author (nationality) – Title (imprint)
Paul Beatty (US) – The Sellout (Oneworld)
Deborah Levy (UK) – Hot Milk (Hamish Hamilton)
Graeme Macrae Burnet (UK) – His Bloody Project (Contraband)
Ottessa Moshfegh (US) – Eileen (Jonathan Cape)
David Szalay (Canada-UK) – All That Man Is (Jonathan Cape)
Madeleine Thien (Canada) – Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Granta Books)
Amanda Foreman comments:
‘The Man Booker Prize subjects novels to a level of scrutiny that few books can survive. In re-reading our incredibly diverse and challenging longlist, it was both agonizing and exhilarating to be confronted by the sheer power of the writing. As a group we were excited by the willingness of so many authors to take risks with language and form. The final six reflect the centrality of the novel in modern culture – in its ability to champion the unconventional, to explore the unfamiliar, and to tackle difficult subjects.’
Deborah Levy is the only previously-shortlisted author (for Swimming Home in 2012).
Oneworld is in the running again this year with Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, following Marlon James’ win with A Brief History of Seven Killings in 2015, which has gone on to sell over 360,000 copies in the UK and Commonwealth, as well as 120,000 in the US.
Granta makes the list with Do Not Say We Have Nothing after its success with Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, which won in 2014. Eleanor Catton is adapting The Luminaries for the BBC, which will commence filming in New Zealand in 2017.
Fellow independent publisher Saraband appears on the shortlist for the first time with His Bloody Project, a significant achievement for the tiny Glasgow-based house run by two people.
Amanda Foreman is joined on the 2016 panel of judges by Jon Day, Abdulrazak Gurnah, David Harsent and Olivia Williams. The shortlist was chosen from 155 submissions, published in the UK between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016.
Luke Ellis, CEO of Man Group, comments:
‘On behalf of Man Group, I would like to congratulate the shortlisted authors. We are honoured to sponsor the Man Booker Prize, recognising the hard work and creativity of the authors of outstanding fiction. The Prize underscores Man Group’s charitable focus on literacy and education as well as our commitment to excellence and creativity. Together with the wider charitable activities of the Booker Prize Foundation, the prize plays a very important role in promoting literary excellence that we are honoured to support.’
The 2016 winner announcement
The 2016 winner will be announced on Tuesday 25 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 two events at The Times & The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival (Saturday 15 October). The traditional Man Booker Prize Readings will take place at the Southbank Centre on the eve of the prize, 24 October, hosted by comedian and writer Sara Pascoe.
A special Man Booker Prize edition of Artsnight will air on BBC Two on Saturday 22 October. There will also be a range of further events with the winner, which will be announced in due course.
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.
For the first time ever, RNIB has ensured that braille versions of the shortlisted books are available in time for the announcement. The Booker Prize Foundation has a longstanding partnership with RNIB to provide Man Booker Prize books to the tens of thousands of blind and partially sighted members of the RNIB Library.