Three debut novelists have been named on the longlist for this year’s Man Booker Prize and will go head-to-head with former winner Anne Enright, as well as heavyweight authors Marilynne Robinson and Anne Tyler.
Bill Clegg, Chigozie Obioma and Anna Smaill were this afternoon included in the “Man Booker Dozen” of 13 novels longlisted for the £50,000 prize for their first books.
This comes as big hitting novelists Jonathan Franzen, Kazuo Ishiguro and William Boyd were surprise omissions to the longlist of the award JM Coetzee dubbed the “ultimate prize to win in the English speaking world” - but which was famously dismissed as "posh bingo" by 2011 winner Julian Barnes.
Clegg, a literary agent, turned novelist, has made the list for Did You Ever Have a Family, alongside Obiam’s The Fishermen and The Chimes by New Zealander Anna Smaill.
They will be up against former winner Enright whose book The Green Road was published this year to huge acclaim. She took the prize in 2007 for The Gathering.
Michael Wood, chairman of the judges, said: “The range of different performances and forms of these novels is amazing. All of them do something exciting with the language they have chosen to use.”
Three British writers make the list: Tom McCarthy, Andrew O’Hagan and Sunjeev Sahota, who was named to the Granta Best of Young British Novelists in 2013.
This year, five US novelists were named on the longlist in the second year that the prize has been opened up to any author writing in English. Until 2014, it was open only to authors from the UK, the Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.
Before the rules were changed, Robinson was twice shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2011 and then two years later.
Marlon James has today become the first Jamaican-born author to be longlisted for the Booker for his book A Brief History of Seven Killings about the attempted assassination of Bob Marley.
Laila Lalami, who lives in the US, is the first Moroccan-born author to be named for The Moor’s Account.
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