This morning saw the announcement of the Booker Prize Shortlist for 2017 and it’s safe to say that there are some surprises! First, let’s take a look at the shortlist:
Autumn by Ali Smith
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
Exit West by Moshin Hamid
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
4321 by Paul Auster
It’s refreshing to see an equal split of male and female writers. What’s also interesting about this list is two debut novels have edged out some Booker heavyweights like Zadie Smith and Arundhati Roy. It’s also nice to see famed short story writer, George Saunders, make the shortlist for his debut novel.
The biggest surprise, by far, however, is the fact that bookies’ (the gamblers not the prize itself) favourite, The Underground Whitehead by Colson Whitehead, was not shortlisted, even though it has already won a deluge of prizes, including the prestigious National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize … The judges were harsh, but are very pleased with their shortlist, which they say features works that are ‘unique and intrepid books that collectively push against the borders of convention.’
Only time will tell which one will win, for in the case of the Booker, nothing is ever certain, but that’s what makes the prize such fun. Here at Mugwumps and Englishmen -- and on our Twitter @MugwumpBlog -- we will be following any and all stories regarding the Booker and its authors, so stay tuned … so to speak.