The short list for the Man Brooker prize was announced this week, but many of the big names on the long list, such as JM Coetzee, AL Kennedy and Elizabeth Strout didn’t make it.
Booksellers have expressed surprise at the list of unfamiliar faces, noting that the only well-known author to make the final six was Deborah Levy, for her novel Hot Milk.
All the books tackle grim subjects. Chair of judges Amanda Foreman said: “In re-reading our incredibly diverse and challenging longlist, it was both agonising and exhilarating to be confronted by the sheer power of the writing.”
The 2016 Man Booker Prize shortlist:
- Paul Beatty, The Sellout
- Deborah Levy, Hot Milk
- Graeme Macrae Burnet, His Bloody Project
- Ottessa Moshfegh, Eileen
- David Szalay, All That Man Is
- Madeleine Thien, Do Not Say We Have Nothing
This is the third year that the prize has been open to writers of any nationality, and the shortlist is split between two British, two US and two Canadian writers.
At bookseller Foyles, web editor Frances Gertler described the list as an “excitingly wide-open shortlist”, which continues the prize’s “trend towards new faces”.
Bookmakers William Hill straight away put Levy 2/1 as the favourite to win. Hot Milk is a novel in which the protagonist, Sofia, has to confront her difficult and sometimes toxic relationship with her mother.
Levy was shortlisted for the Man Booker in 2012, for Swimming Home, the year the award was won by Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies.
The winner will be announced on 25 October.