Chimp's memoir in running for Booker Prize

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The longlist for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction was announced today, including two former winners and three first time novelists in what was described by judges as an "exceptional" year.

A total of 132 books were considered for the Man Booker Dozen of 13 novels.

Chairman of judges James Naughtie said the list was one of the strongest in recent memory.

It includes books by former winner AS Byatt and JM Coetzee, who has triumphed twice previously.

Byatt won for Possession in 1990 and Coetzee's works Disgrace and Life & Times of Michael K claimed victory in 1999 and 1983 respectively.

First timers Samantha Harvey, Ed O'Loughlin and James Lever have also made it onto the longlist.

A further four people in the running have been shortlisted in previous years.

They are Sarah Waters, William Trevor, Colm Toibin and Sarah Hall.

Broadcaster and author Mr Naughtie said of this year's selection: "We believe it to be one of the strongest lists in recent memory, with two former winners, four past-shortlisted writers, three first-time novelists and a span of styles and themes that make this an outstandingly rich fictional mix.

"We considered more than 130 novels (including the work of nine former winners) and found ourselves travelling in a fertile landscape.

"We kept discovering new talent as well as re-acquainting ourselves with familiar writers, and emerged with a feeling that we were part of an exceptional year.

"Our fiction is in the hands of original and dedicated writers with fresh and appealing voices."

The list covers subjects as diverse as the court of Henry VIII, a 19th century Essex asylum, an African war zone and a futuristic Brazilian city.

Mr Naughtie added: "These are books that readers will want to get their hands on."

The prize is worth £50,000 to the winner, who sees a jump in book sales.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga won the Man Booker Prize 2008.

The British publisher's edition of the book has sold over half a million copies and is being translated into 39 different languages.

The 2009 shortlist will be announced on Tuesday, 8 September.

The winner will be revealed on Tuesday, 6 October at London's Guildhall.

The prize will be showcased as part of Antony Gormley's One & Other project on the fourth plinth in London's Trafalgar Square.

On Tuesday 11 August at 11am a Man Booker Prize enthusiast will give readings from all 13 longlisted titles and then give away copies of the books.

The other judges this year are Lucasta Miller, biographer and critic; Michael Prodger, Literary Editor of The Sunday Telegraph; Professor John Mullan, academic, journalist and broadcaster and Sue Perkins, comedian, journalist and broadcaster.



Here is the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction longlist:

AS Byatt - The Children's Book
JM Coetzee - Summertime
Adam Foulds - The Quickening Maze
Sarah Hall - How to Paint a Dead Man
Samantha Harvey - The Wilderness
James Lever - Me Cheeta
Hilary Mantel - Wolf Hall
Simon Mawer - The Glass Room
Ed O'Loughlin - Not Untrue & Not Unkind
James Scudamore - Heliopolis
Colm Toibin - Brooklyn
William Trevor - Love and Summer
Sarah Waters - The Little Stranger

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