Bestselling British novelist Hilary Mantel and American author Anne Tyler are among 13 writers on a U.S.-dominated list of contenders for the prestigious Booker Prize for fiction.
Mantel was named among competitors for the 50,000-pound ($63,000) literary prize Tuesday for the “The Mirror and the Light,” the third instalment in her trilogy about Tudor power broker Thomas Cromwell. She won the Booker for both its predecessors, “Wolf Hall” and “Bring up the Bodies.”
American contenders include Tyler for “Redhead by the Side of the Road,” Diane Cook for “The New Wilderness,” Avni Doshi for “Burnt Sugar,” Kiley Reid for “Such a Fun Age,” Brandon Taylor for “Real Life,” and C. Pam Zhang for “How Much of These Hills is Gold.”
British writers on the list are Gabriel Krauze for “Who They Was,” Douglas Stuart for “Shuggie Bain” and Sophie Ward for “Love and Other Thought Experiments.” Rounding out the longlist are “Apeirogon” by Ireland’s Colum McCann; “This Mournable Boy” by Zimbabwe’s Tsitsi Dangarembga and “The Shadow King” by Ethiopian-American writer Maaza Mengiste.
The prize, subject to intense speculation and a flurry of betting, usually brings the victor a huge boost in sales and profile.
Eight of the nominees are for first novels – an unusually high number for the prize. The award’s literary director, Gaby Wood, said it was “heartening to know that some authors who have launched their careers in the midst of COVID-19 may now have a chance to reach the readers they deserve.”
Founded in 1969, the prize is open to English-language authors from around the world, but until 2014 only British, Irish and Commonwealth writers were eligible.
That year’s change sparked fears among some Britons that it would become a U.S-dominated prize. That hasn’t happened, yet. Since then there have been two American winners, Paul Beatty’s “The Sellout” in 2016 and George Saunders’ “Lincoln in the Bardo” in 2017.
A six-book shortlist will be announced Sept. 15, and the Booker winner will be revealed in November.
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