Friday, September 15, 2006

2006 Booker Prize for Fiction: The Shortlist

THE following six novels have been shortlisted for the 2006 Booker Prize for Fiction, quite an eclectic mix I would say, not so staid and stodgy as in the years past. There are more female writers than male writers this time round; the last time this happened was in 2003. Canongate, the independent Scottish publishing house, has two writers on the shortlist: Kate Grenville and M.J. Hyland. And both of them are Australians, too. Penguin must be over the moon with two writers on the shortlist, too: Kiran Desai and Hisham Matar. Most of the writers are new to the shortlist; the only writer who has appeared on the shortlist before is the ever-excellent Sarah Waters for Fingersmith in 2002. Edward St. Aubyn and Kiran Desai, the daughter of Anita Desai, are very good. The only first-time novelist is Hisham Matar, a new voice in literary fiction, with a semi-autobiographical novel set in Libya. So, who will it be this time round? I will be rooting for Kiran Desai.

The Shortlist
1. The Inheritance of Loss (Penguin/Hamish Hamilton) / Kiran Desai
2. The Secret River (Canongate) / Kate Grenville
3. Carry Me Down (Canongate) / M.J. Hyland
4. In the Country of Men (Penguin/Viking) / Hisham Matar
5. Mother’s Milk (Picador) / Edward St. Aubyn
6. The Night Watch (Virago) / Sarah Waters

The winner will be announced on October 10, 2006.


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