The shortlist for the 2013 Man Booker Prize has been announced — and it features both established writers and new names. The prize, which will be handed out on October 15, is the most coveted literary award in Great Britain and the Commonwealth states, having been given to the likes of Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood, among other luminaries, in the past.
The shortlist list for the 2013 Booker, announced this morning, includes: The Luminaries by New Zealand novelist Elanor Catton, the debut novel We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo; Colm Toibin's The Testament of Mary, Jim Crace's Harvest, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri and A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.
The Booker's announcement of the shortlist struck a somewhat self-congratulatory note:
The six books on the list could not be more diverse. There are examples from novelists from New Zealand, England, Canada, Ireland and Zimbabwe – each with its own highly distinctive taste. They range in size from the 832 pages of Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries to the 104-page The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín. The times represented stretch from the biblical Middle East (Tóibín) to contemporary Zimbabwe (NoViolet Bulawayo) by way of 19th-century New Zealand (Catton), 1960s India (Jumpha Lahiri), 18th-century rural England (Crace) and modern Tokyo (Ruth Ozeki). The oldest author on the list, Jim Crace, is 67, the youngest (indeed the youngest ever shortlistee), Eleanor Catton, is 28. Colm Tóibín has written more than 15 books, The Luminaries is only Catton's second.
Last year, Hilary Mantel won for her sequel to Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies, as was widely expected. And although The Guardian is reporting that Crace's Harvest is the bookies' favorite, it's hard to see a leader in the field.
I for one, reviewing Harvest for The New Republic, found his latest effort to pale in comparison to his earlier works. Toibin's Mary was widely praised, but he might be too safe a pick for the prize. The Zimbabwean writer Bulawayo, meanwhile, has been described as "brilliant." Perhaps the rookie can win it all.