Sunday, July 27, 2008

Believe it or not, it's the Booker Prize season ... AGAIN!

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, the Booker Prize season is upon us again! It’s the season that celebrates excellence in contemporary literary fiction. The publishing world awaits the longlist with bated breath and much eagerness. The longlist will be announced on July 29, 2008, while the shortlist will be announced on September 9, 2008. The winner will be announced on October 14, 2008, the day the 2008 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival begins in Bali.

There are many new novels from former Booker Prize-winners (John Berger, James Kelman, Salman Rushdie and Peter Carey) as well as several new ones from past nominees (Peter Ackroyd, Sebastian Barry, Damon Galgut, Doris Lessing, David Lodge, Clare Morrall and Tim Winton). And, of course, let’s not forget such novelists as Nadeem Aslam, Louis de Bernières, Carol Birch, Melvyn Bragg, Geraldine Brooks, John Burnside, Louise Dean, Anne Donovan, Stella Duffy, Helen Dunmore, Robert Edric, Eva Figes, Helen Garner, Howard Jacobson, Derek Johns, Amitav Ghosh, Linda Grant, Hugo Hamilton, James Hamilton-Paterson, John Harwood, Zoë Heller, Philip Hensher, James Kelman, Michelle de Kretser, Hanif Kureishi, Margot Livesey, Joan London, Richard Mason, James Meek, Alex Miller, Andrew Miller, Julie Myerson, Joseph O’Neill, David Park, Manil Suri, Adam Thorpe, Roma Tearne, James Wilson and Alexis Wright. And several first-time authors like Aravind Adiga, Isabel Fonseca, Edward Hogan, Mohammed Hanif, Sadie Jones, Ross Raisin, Preeta Samarasan, Tom Rob Smith, Steve Toltz and Robin Yassin-Kassab were especially impressive. Looks like a very bountiful harvest for Australian fiction this year, I might add: Peter Carey, Helen Garner, John Harwood, Michelle de Kretser, Joan London, Alex Miller, Steve Toltz, Tim Winton and Alexis Wright.

A longlist of 13 novels will be announced on July 29, 2008

So, who do you think should or will be longlisted?
The following are just some of my favourites this year:

1. The White Tiger (Atlantic, 2008) / Aravind Adiga
2. The Wasted Vigil (Faber & Faber, 2008) / Nadeem Aslam
3. The Secret Scripture (Faber & Faber, 2008) / Sebastian Barry
4. From A to X (Verso, 2008) / John Berger
5. A Partisan’s Daughter (Harvill Secker, 2008) / Louis de Bernières
6. Scapegallows (Virago, 2007) / Carol Birch
7. Remember Me (Sceptre, 2008) / Melvyn Bragg
8. People of the Book (Viking/Fourth Estate, 2008) / Geraldine Brooks
9. Glister (Jonathan Cape, 2008) / John Burnside
10. His Illegal Self (Faber & Faber, 2008) / Peter Carey
11. The Idea of Love (Fig Tree/Penguin, 2008) / Louise Dean
12. The Room of Lost Things (Virago, 2008) / Stella Duffy
13. Counting the Stars (Penguin/Fig Tree, 2008) / Helen Dunmore
14. In Zodiac Light (Doubleday, 2008) / Robert Edric
15. Journey to Nowhere (Granta, 2008) / Eva Figes
16. Attachments (Chatto & Windus, 2008) / Isabel Fonseca
17. The Impostor (Atlantic Books, 2008) / Damon Galgut
18. The Spare Room (Text Publishing, 2008) / Helen Garner
19. Sea of Poppies (John Murray, 2008) / Amitav Ghosh
20. The Clothes on Their Backs (Virago, 2008) / Linda Grant
21. Disguise (Fourth Estate, 2008) / Hugo Hamilton
22. Rancid Pansies (Faber & Faber, 2008) / James Hamilton-Paterson
23. A Case of Exploding Mangoes (Jonathan Cape, 2008) / Mohammed Hanif
24. The Seance (Jonathan Cape, 2008) / John Harwood
25. The Believers (Fig Tree/Penguin, 2008) / Zoë Heller
26. The Northern Clemency (HarperCollins/Fourth Estate, 2008) / Philip Hensher

27. Blackmoor (Simon & Schuster, 2008) / Edward Hogan
28. The Act of Love (Jonathan Cape, 2008) / Howard Jacobson
29. Wakening (Portobello, 2008) / Derek Johns
30. The Outcast (Chatto & Windus, 2008) / Sadie Jones
31. Kieron Smith, Boy (Hamish Hamilton, 2008) / James Kelman
32. The Lost Dog (Allen & Unwin, 2007; Chatto & Windus, 2008) / Michelle de Kretser
33. Something to Tell You (Faber & Faber, 2008) / Hanif Kureishi
34. Alfred and Emily (Fourth Estate, 2008) / Doris Lessing
35. The House on Fortune Street (HarperCollins, 2008) / Margot Livesey
36. Deaf Sentence (Harvill Secker, 2008) / David Lodge
37. The Good Parents (Vintage, 2008) / Joan London
38. The Lighted Rooms (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2008) / Richard Mason
39. We Are Now Beginning Our Descent (Canongate, 2008) / James Meek
40. Landscape of Farewell (Allen & Unwin, 2007) / Alex Miller
41. One Morning Like a Bird (Sceptre, 2008) / Andrew Miller
42. The Language of Others (Sceptre, 2008) / Clare Morrall
43. Out of Breath (Jonathan Cape, 2008) / Julie Myerson
44. Netherland (Fourth Estate/Pantheon, 2008) / Joseph O’Neill
45. The Truth Commissioner (Bloomsbury, 2008) / David Park
46. Dreams of Rivers and Seas (Harvill Secker, 2008) / Tim Parks
47. God’s Own Country (Viking, 2008) / Ross Raisin
48. The Enchantress of Florence (Jonathan Cape, 2008) / Salman Rushdie
49. Evening Is the Whole Day (Fourth Estate/Houghton Mifflin, 2008) / Preeta Samarasan

50. Child 44 (Simon & Schuster, 2008) / Tom Rob Smith
51. The Age of Shiva (Bloomsbury, 2008) / Manil Suri
52. Bone China (Harper Press, 2008) / Roma Tearne
53. The Standing Pool (Jonathan Cape, 2008) / Adam Thorpe
54. A Fraction of the Whole (Hamish Hamilton, 2008) / Steve Toltz
55. Consolation (Faber & Faber, 2008) / James Wilson
56. Breath (Picador, 2008) / Tim Winton
57. Carpentaria (Giramondo, 2007/Constable, 2008) / Alexis Wright
58. The Road From Damascus (Hamish Hamilton, 2008) / Robin Yassin-Kassab

Who are the judges for 2008?

From left to right: Michael Portillo, Alex Clark, Louise Doughty, James Heneage and Hardeep Singh Kohli


Blogger Tunku Halim said...

That's a whole lot of books, Eric. Alas, so little time ...

Monday, July 21, 2008 4:02:00 PM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

Yes, so many books, so little time ...

Monday, July 21, 2008 5:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric, who do you think will win the Booker Prize this year? I am sure you know who is going to win!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008 4:25:00 AM  
Blogger bibliobibuli said...

really looking forward to this bunfight again, eric!!

my fingers really crossed for preeta's novel which deserves to be a serious contender. i may be hopelessly biased but it is my favourite novel so far this year

Thursday, July 24, 2008 8:58:00 PM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

Yes, let the games begin! The next few months should be exciting. I wonder who will win this time round. Of course, the last time a first novel won the Booker Prize was Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things in 1997 - eleven years ago.

Thursday, July 24, 2008 9:10:00 PM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

The fun part is not knowing who is going to win the prize! Let’s wait and see.

Saturday, July 26, 2008 7:40:00 PM  
Blogger Rob Spence said...

The Booker is a kind of brand now, isn't it? And they keep up brand awareness by these other events - Booker of Bookers etc through the year. Interesting set of judges. Portillo has become quite the man of culture since giving up politics. Kohli is a lot more intelligent than you might expect from his day job.

Sunday, July 27, 2008 9:09:00 AM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

Rob, really nice to hear from you. Yes, the Booker is definitely an established brand now. And it is always good to build brand awareness throughout the year!

Sunday, July 27, 2008 3:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric, what about STEVEN CARROLL, the Australian author of The Time We have Taken (2007), which recently won the 2008 Miles Franklin Literary Award and the 2008 Commonwealth Writers Prize for best book in Southeast Asia and South Pacific?

Monday, July 28, 2008 7:29:00 AM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

Steven Carroll's The Time We have Taken (2007) is one of the stronger Australian novels, but I am not sure whether it qualifies due to its publication date.

Monday, July 28, 2008 7:31:00 AM  
Blogger bibliobibuli said...

so now we know! you did pretty well, eric.

thanks for recommending the linda grant - you certainly got that one right.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 7:28:00 AM  

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