A Canadian is among the semifinalists for the Booker Prize, competing with 12 other authors that also include an Irish writer who has received four previous nominations and twice been shortlisted for it.
Author Sebastian Barry was one of four Irish writers Tuesday to make the long list for the prestigious 50,000 pound (C$85,000) prize.
Barry is up this year for his novel “Old God’s Time,” about a retired police detective who gets dragged back into a cold case investigation of a murdered priest suspected of sexually abusing children.
Meanwhile, Montreal-born Sarah Bernstein is nominated for “Study for Obedience,” which the judges described as an “absurdist and darkly funny” novel about a woman who moves to a new place and experiences a hostile reaction from the community.
Bernstein now lives and teaches in Scotland. “Study for Obedience” is her second novel following her 2021 debut, “The Coming Bad Days.”
“All 13 novels cast new light on what it means to exist in our time, and they do so in original and thrilling ways,” said Esi Edugyan, the Victoria, B.C.-based chair of the judges. “Their range is vast, both in subject and form: they shocked us, made us laugh, filled us with anguish, but above all they stayed with us.”
The award recognizes the best in long fiction published in the U.K. and Ireland between Oct. 1, 2022 and Sept. 30, 2023. The nominees were chosen from 163 books submitted by publishers.
The winner is set to be announced Nov. 26 after the list is pared down to six finalists next month.
Malaysian writer Tan Twan Eng received his third nomination, this time for “The House of Doors,” a book of historical fiction drawn from the life of Somerset Maugham.
Paul Murray, another Irish writer, was nominated for “The Bee Sting,” a tragicomic family saga. It is his second nomination.
Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow’s debut novel, “All The Little Bird-Hearts,” is about a rule-bound mother whose carefully ordered life is upended when a charming couple moves next door with darker designs on her 16-year-old daughter. Like her protagonist, Lloyd-Barlow is autistic.
Shehan Karunatilaka, one of Sri Lanka’s most prestigious writers, won the 2022 Booker Prize for “The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida,” a satirical “afterlife noir” set during Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war.