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Man Booker longlist announced; includes Colum McCann, Jhumpa Lahiri

AuthorsEnglandLiteratureRepublic of IrelandJhumpa LahiriArts and CultureArrested Development (tv program)

The longlist for the Man Booker Prize was announced in London Tuesday morning. The 13 novels include National Book Award winner Colum McCann's "TransAtlantic" and "The Lowland" by Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri.

With a prize of more than $58,000, the Man Booker has one of the world's largest awards for a single work. Its longlist and shortlist are celebrated in England, where the contest is tracked by betting agencies. The gala award ceremony, which takes place in October, is broadcast nationally on the BBC.

The process can sometimes be mysterious to American readers; frequently a good share of the books in the running have not yet been published in the U.S. This year, however, more than half are already on shelves; nine of the 13 will have been published here before the contest is over.

The 2013 Man Booker longlist of books and their authors:

"Five Star Billionaire" by Tash Aw      
"We Need New Names" by NoViolet Bulawayo  
"The Luminaries" by Eleanor Catton  
"Harvest" by Jim Crace 
"The Marrying of Chani Kaufman" by Eve Harris 
"The Kill" by Richard House
"The Lowland" by Jhumpa Lahiri 
"Unexploded" by Alison MacLeod
"TransAtlantic" by Colum McCann 
"Almost English" by Charlotte Mendelson
"A Tale for the Time Being" by Ruth Ozeki 
"The Spinning Heart" by Donal Ryan
"The Testament of Mary" by Colm Tóibín

While the Man Booker longlist frequently includes repeat contenders, this year's is dominated by newcomers. Only Colm Tóibín and Jim Crace have been in the running before; Tóibín has made the shortlist twice, Crace once.

Seven of the 13 books have already been published in the U.S.: "A Tale for the Time Being" by Ruth Ozeki, which book critic David L. Ulin writes is "an exquisite novel: funny, tragic, hard-edged and ethereal at once"; "Five Star Billionaire" by Tash Aw; "We Need New Names"  by NoViolet Bulawayo; "Harvest" by Jim Crace; "The Kill" by Richard House; "The Testament of Mary" by Colm Tóibín; and "TransAtlantic" by Colum McCann.

Lahiri's "The Lowland" is one of the highly anticipated books of the fall, while "The Luminaries" by Eleanor Catton will be published in October.

Four books -- "Unexploded" by Alison MacLeod; "Almost English" by Charlotte Mendelson; "The Spinning Heart" by Donal Ryan; and "The Marrying of Chani Kaufman" by Eve Harris -- appear not to have found U.S. publishers.

To be eligible, a book must be published originally in English by a living author who is a citizen of the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland, or Zimbabwe.

Longlisted authors hail from Australia, Canada, Britain, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe. McCann, who lives in New York, is Irish; Lahiri, who grew up in the U.S., was born in London. Ozeki is a Connecticut-born Japanese-American-Canadian, who lives part of the year in British Columbia with her husband.

The longlist will be whittled down to a shortlist, announced Sept. 10. The winner will be announced at a London gala Oct. 15.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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