The list of contenders for the 2013 Man Booker Prize has been shortened once again, advancing toward the October 15th announcement of the winner of the £50,000 prize. Judges Robert MacFarlane, Martha Kearney, Stuart Kelly,Natalie Haynes, and Robert Douglas-Fairhurst whittled the list down from an initial 151, then edited even further to a Longlist of 13 before arriving at the final six. With content ranging from the Biblical Middle East to 1960s India to present-day Zimbabwe, the titles under consideration are so diverse it’s hard to guess which one the judges will find consensus around; but whom they land on could offer an interesting window to the literary establishment’s agenda.
NoViolet Bulawayo, author of the internationally acclaimed novel We Need New Names is now the only debutant on the prestigious list, while Eleanor Catton, at 28, still has the chance to be the youngest ever winner of the prize. If either of them win, it could signal — and lead to — increased support for debut and young talent.
Meanwhile, the honor is a first for author Jhumpa Lahiri who won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel The Namesake as it is for novelist Ruth Ozeki and the multiple award-winning Jim Crace who, at 67, is the oldest on the 2013 Shortlist. Should either of them take the day, it would likely direct even more attention to their backlists and to the industry’s renewed interest in multicultural literature.
The full Shortlist is below: