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Man Booker Prize announces 2015 longlist; SoCal author Laila Lalami is a contender

The longlist for the prestigious Man Booker Prize was revealed Wednesday, with five American authors — including local writer Laila Lalami — making the cut.

Lalami, a professor of creative writing at UC Riverside who earned a Ph.D. in linguistics from USC, made the list for "The Moor's Account," her novel about a Moroccan slave who became the first black explorer of the New World. The book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

The other American nominees are Hanya Yanagihara, a Los Angeles native who now lives in New York, for her novel "A Little Life," and authors Anne Tyler, Bill Clegg and Marilynne Robinson.

This marks the second year that authors of any nationality have been eligible for the Man Booker Prize, which comes with a payment of about $78,000. Before last year, only authors from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Zimbabwe and the Commonwealth of Nations were considered.

The move to open the prize to all writers was controversial, with some worried that not enough British authors would be nominated under the new rules. This year, only three British authors made the longlist, with other nominees coming from Jamaica, Ireland, Nigeria, India and New Zealand. Two of those authors, Marlon James and Chigozie Obioma, now live in the U.S.

The longlist will be winnowed to a shortlist of six books, which will be announced Sept. 15, with the winner announced in London on Oct. 13. The complete longlist is below.

Bill Clegg (American), "Did You Ever Have a Family"

Anne Enright (Irish), "The Green Road"

Marlon James (Jamaican), "A Brief History of Seven Killings"

Laila Lalami (American), "The Moor's Account"

Tom McCarthy (British), "Satin Island"

Chigozie Obioma (Nigerian), "The Fishermen"

Andrew O'Hagan (British), "The Illuminations"

Marilynne Robinson (American), "Lila"

Anuradha Roy (Indian), "Sleeping on Jupiter"

Sunjeev Sahota (British), "The Year of the Runaways"

Anna Smaill (New Zealander), "The Chimes"

Anne Tyler (American), "A Spool of Blue Thread"

Hanya Yanagihara (American), "A Little Life"

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