Published on Submitted by Leah on Tue, 2015-09-15 10:44
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 (imprint)
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 third Nigerian to be nominated, after Ben Okri and Chinua Achebe. 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.
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:
For all press enquiries please contact:
Katy MacMillan-Scott or Hannah McMillan at Four Colman Getty
020 3697 4253/ 07786 567887 (Katy)
020 3697 4260 / 07971 086649 (Hannah)
A Brief History of Seven Killings
By Marlon James
Published by Oneworld Publications (£18.99)
On 3 December 1976, just weeks before the general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica concert to ease political tensions, seven men from West Kingston stormed his house with machine guns. Marley survived and went on to perform at the free concert. But the next day he left the country and didn’t return for two years. Inspired by this near-mythic event, A Brief History of Seven Killings takes the form of an imagined oral biography, told by ghosts, witnesses, killers, members of parliament, drug dealers, conmen, beauty queens, FBI and CIA agents, journalists, and even Keith Richards' drug dealer. The story traverses strange landscapes and shady characters, as motivations are examined – and questions asked.
Marlon James, 44, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1970. Marlon’s first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. His second novel, The Book of Night Women, won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award. James’ writing has appeared in Esquire, Granta, Publisher’s Weekly and The Caribbean Review of Books. James currently lives in Minneapolis, USA.
For further information, please contact Lamorna Elmer at Oneworld Publications
Tel: 0207 307 8909, email: [email protected]
By Tom McCarthy (UK)
Published by Jonathan Cape (£16.99)
Set in contemporary London, Satin Island is a work reflecting disjointed times. A story about U. - a ‘corporate anthropologist’ working for an elite consultancy. U.’s employers have set him two tasks. First, he must assist in the launching of a great, epoch-defining project which no one, least of all its own architects, fully understands. Second, he has been asked to compose the seemingly impossible: the Great Report – an ethnographic document to sum up our age. Instead, procrastinating, U. grows obsessed with the images with which the world bombards him on a daily basis: oil spills, African traffic jams, roller-blade processions, zombie parades. Is there a secret logic holding all these things together – a codex that, once cracked, will unlock the master-meaning of our times? Might it have something to do with South Pacific Cargo Cults, or the dead parachutists in the news? Perhaps; perhaps not.
Tom McCarthy, 46, was born in 1969 and grew up in London, UK. His creation, in 1999, of the International Necronautical Society (INS), a ‘semi-fictitious organisation’ that combines literature, art and philosophy, has led to publications, installations and exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world, from Tate Britain and the ICA in London to Moderna Museet in Stockholm and The Drawing Center in New York. McCarthy regularly writes on literature and art for publications including The New York Times, The London Review of Books and Artforum. His books include Remainder (2006), Men in Space (2007), and C (2010), which was shortlisted for that year’s Man Booker Prize. McCarthy currently lives in London.
For further information, please contact Maria Garbutt-Lucero at Jonathan Cape
Tel: 0207 840 8563, email: [email protected]
By Chigozie Obioma
Published by ONE, Pushkin Press (£14.99)
The Fishermen is set in a small town in Nigeria in the mid-1990s. Four brothers, the youngest of whom is nine, use their strict father's absence from home to go fishing in a forbidden river and encounter a dangerous local madman, Abulu, whose mystic prophecy of violence threatens the very core of their close-knit family. He predicts that one of the brothers – a fisherman – will kill another. This evil prophecy of violence causes a deep rift between the brothers and starts to break the deep fraternal bonds, unleashing a tragic chain of events. Told by shy nine-year-old Benjamin, The Fishermen combines classic African storytelling with contemporary fiction, and illuminates Nigeria in all its historical, political and cultural complexity.
Chigozie Obioma, 28, was born in 1986 in Akure, Nigeria. His short stories have appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review and New Madrid. He was a Fall 2012 OMI Fellow at Ledig House, New York. He has lived in Nigeria, Cyprus and Turkey, and currently resides in the United States, where he has completed an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan and is now assistant professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Fishermen is his first novel.
For further information, please contact Katherine Stroud at ONE, Pushkin Press
Tel: 07780 112 964, email: [email protected]
The Year of the Runaways
By Sunjeev Sahota
Published by Picador (£9.99)
13 young men live in a house in Sheffield, each in flight from India and in desperate search of a new life. Tarlochan, a former rickshaw driver, will say nothing about his past in Bihar; and Avtar has a secret that binds him to protect the chaotic Randeep. Randeep, in turn, has a visa-wife in a flat on the other side of town: a clever, devout woman whose cupboards are full of her husband's clothes, in case the immigration men surprise her with a call. Sweeping between India and England, and between childhood and the present day The Year of the Runaways is a story of an unlikely family thrown together by circumstance.
Sunjeev Sahota, 34, was born in 1981 in Derbyshire, UK. His debut novel, Ours are the Streets, was called 'nothing short of extraordinary', Observer; 'a moral work of real intelligence and power', The Times. Sahota is a Granta Best of British Novelist 2013. Sahota currently lives in Sheffield, UK.
For further information, please contact Emma Bravo at Picador, Pan Macmillan
Tel: 0207 014 6184 / 07739334561, email: [email protected]
A Spool of Blue Thread
By Anne Tyler
Published by Chatto & Windus (£18.99)
‘It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…’ This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that day in July 1959. The whole family on the porch, relaxed, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different. Abby and Red are getting older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them and their beloved family home. They’ve all come, even Denny, who can usually be relied on only to please himself. From that porch we spool back through three generations of the Whitshanks, witnessing the events, secrets and unguarded moments that have come to define who and what they are. And while all families like to believe they are special, round that kitchen table over all those years we see played out the hopes and fears, the rivalries and tensions of families everywhere – the essential nature of family life.
Anne Tyler, 73, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated from Duke University and Columbia University, New York and worked as a librarian and bibliographer before moving to Maryland. She published her first book, If Morning Ever Comes, in 1964 and since then a new book has appeared every few years. Tyler’s ninth novel, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1983. The Accidental Tourist was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1985, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 and was made into a film starring William Hurt and Geena Davis. Breathing Lessons won the Pulitzer Prize in 1989. Ladder of Years was shortlisted for the inaugural Orange Prize for Fiction in 1996, and Digging for America was shortlisted for the same prize in 2007. Tyler currently lives in Baltimore, USA.
For further information, please contact Louise Court at Chatto & Windus
Tel: 0207 840 8682, email: [email protected]
A Little Life
By Hanya Yanagihara
Published by Picador (£16.99)
A Little Life is a depiction of heartbreak, and a dark examination of the tyranny of memory and the limits of human endurance. When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realise, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he'll not only be unable to overcome - but that will define his life forever.
Hanya Yanagihara, 41, was born in Los Angeles, California, USA, in 1975. Yanagihara is the author of The People in the Trees, shortlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and A Little Life. She is deputy editor at T: The New York Times Style Magazine and lives in New York City.
For further information, please contact Kate Green at Picador
Tel: 020 7014 6369, email: [email protected]
Notes to Editors
This means that the number of submissions for each publisher may change year on year. The rule that allows submission of any new title by an author who has previously been shortlisted for the Booker (pre-2002) or Man Booker Prize remains
Four Colman Getty