Three little-known Canadian writers are standing on the brink of international fame after their novels were named to the long list of finalists for the 2011 Man Booker Prize in London Tuesday.
The list of 13 nominees includes Alison Pick of Toronto, author of Far to Go; Vancouver-born Patrick deWitt, now living in Portland, Oregon, nominated for The Sisters Brothers; and Esi Edugyan of Victoria, author of Half Blood Blues.
The list represents a timely triumph for the independent Canadian publishers that published all three books. Both Pick and deWitt are published by House of Anansi, while Edugyan's second novel was rescued from the bankruptcy of Key Porter Books by Thomas Allen and Sons, which plans to publish it in September.
"It's a hard time for literary publishing right now and all three of these books speak important truths about the world," Anansi publisher Sarah MacLachlan said. "And it goes without saying that they are great reads!"
This is the second year in a row that Anansi has earned a place on the list, following the nomination of Newfoundland novelist Lisa Moore's February for the 2010 prize.
Anansi is also celebrating the nomination of Pigeon English, by first-time British author Stephen Kelman, which it has the Canadian publishing rights.
In addition to the three Canadians, the 2011 Man Booker long list includes four first novels. Favoured to win at this point are Alan Hollinghurst, author of The Stranger's Child and winner of the 2004 Man Booker for The Line of Beauty, and three-time short-listed author Julian Barnes, nominated this year for The Sense of an Ending.
The long list of 13 books will be winnowed to six in September, and the 2011 prize announced October 18 in London. The winner receives £50,000, equivalent to $77,000.
See the complete long list here.