Pulitzer-winner Jhumpa Lahiri is among the 13 writers longlisted for this year’s £50,000 Man Booker Prize described by judges as “the most diverse” selection in many years.
Ms. Lahiri, whose debut novel The Namesake was made into a critically acclaimed film, has been chosen for her much-anticipated new novel The Lowland . Set in India and America, it is said to be a “poignant” and “deeply-felt” novel about family ties , grief and dislocation.
For the first time, a multimedia novel has been included while some of the biggest literary names such as Margaret Atwood and J.M. Coetzee have been left out. Richard House’s The Kills , hailed as a “groundbreaking” work that “stretches off the page”, was first published digitally.
The list is also unique for including a novel that is so brief that it has prompted questions whether it should be regarded as a novel at all. Colm Toibin’s The Testament of Mary runs barely a little over 100 pages but judges insisted that it was the quality of writing, not the length that mattered.
Responding to criticism that the list was rather “light-weight” with preponderance of little-known writers, chair of judges Robert Macfarlane said there was “no policy of giant killing or sacred cow slaughter”.
There are three first-time novelists on the list NoViolet Bulawayo ( We Need New Names ); Eve Harris ( The Marrying of Chani Kaufman ); and Donal Ryan ( The Spinning Heart ).
Others include Tash Aw, ( Five Star Billionaire ); Eleanor Catton ( The Luminaries ); Jim Crace ( Harvest ); Alison MacLeod ( Unexploded ); Colum McCann ( TransAtlantic ); Charlotte Mendelson ( Almost English ); and Ruth Ozeki ( A Tale for the Time Being ).