The longlist for the Man Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards, was announced Wednesday. For the second year, the prize was open to writers of any nationality who publish books in English in the U.K., and this year five American writers made the list of 13 contenders, chosen by five judges from a pool of 156 total works.
The U.S. is, in fact, the most well-represented country, with other entrants hailing from Great Britain, Jamaica, New Zealand, Nigeria, Ireland, and India. There are three debut novelists and one former winner on the list, and women writers outnumber men seven to six. From dystopian and political novels to a multitude of iterations on the family drama, the selections capture the ever-changing human experience in very different ways.
From here, the selections will be whittled down to a shortlist of six books, to be announced on September 15. The winner will be announced at the ceremony in London on October 13. Until then, here’s a guide to the 13 works on the longlist.
Bill Clegg, Did You Ever Have a Family
The American writer’s novel about a woman struggling with the aftermath of an explosion that killed her family inspired a new literary fiction imprint at Simon & Schuster. The tragedy, which takes multiple perspectives over many years, is Clegg’s first work of fiction, but he’s a longtime figure in the publishing world and has written two memoirs, one in 2011 about his addiction to crack cocaine (Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man) and one a year later about his experiences in rehab (Ninety Days). Kirkus Reviews called the novel “an attempt to map how the unbearable is borne, elegantly written and bravely imagined.”