Women dominated the Man Booker Prize shortlist announcement this year, accounting for four out of the six nominees.
The six authors moving forward to vie for the £50,000 prize are Anna Burns, Esi Edugyan, Daisy Johnson, Rachel Kushner, Richard Powers and Robin Robertson.
At 27 years of age, Daisy Johnson is the youngest writer to have been nominated for the shortlist for her debut novel, Everything Under, a modern reimagining of Sophocles’s Oedipus, focused on a tumultuous mother-daughter relationship.
Rachel Kushner’s third novel, The Mars Room, tackles gender and class in a story of contemporary incarceration; whilst American novelist Anna Burns third novel, Milkman, is a dark coming-of-age telling the story of a young woman’s affair with the ‘milkman’.
The Overstory by Richard Powers, is a montage, similar to that of Cloud Atlas, of interlocking stories spanning time and space, tied together by the overarching narrative of the relationship between humans and trees. Second time shortlisted novelist Esi Edugyan explores the friendship between an eleven year old slave and an abolitionist inventor in Washington Black.
Scottish poet Robin Robertson completes the shortlist with his novel The Long Take, the first submission to be written in verse and feature photographs. The novel tells the story of a D-Day veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Among the long list of nominees who did not make the final cut, was young Irish novelist Sally Rooney’s Normal People; an in-depth examination of a complicated relationship between two young lovers of different social classes as they move through their school and university careers in Ireland.
2018 marks the first year that the Man Booker prize submissions were open to include fiction published in Ireland, in addition to those from the UK. This decision follows five years after the submission parameters were extended beyond the UK and Commonwealth to include all books published in the UK, including those written by US authors; hence, last year’s winner George Saunders. The provenance of this year’s nominees range from England to Canada.
The 2018 winner will be announced on Tuesday 16th October in London’s Guildhall. The ceremony will be broadcast by the BBC.
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