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Man Booker Prize longlist includes Paul Beatty’s novel set in South L.A. and J.M. Coetzee

Paul Beatty, left, J.M. Coetzee and Elizabeth Strout are among the 13 authors longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Viking/Random House)

The British-based Man Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious awards for literary fiction in the world, announced its longlist Wednesday, with five American authors on the list of 13.

It’s only the third year that authors from outside the Commonwealth have been considered for the prize, which presented its first award in 1969. It has such a high profile in England that people wager on its outcome, following the odds on betting sites such as Ladbrokes.

Paul Beatty made the 2016 longlist for his novel “The Sellout,” a biting satire about race relations in a fictional community in South Los Angeles. The novel was the winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle prize for fiction.

Writing for The Times, critic Kiese Laymon called Beatty’s novel “spectacular” and “among the most important and difficult American novels written in the 21st century.”

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The biggest name among the finalists is J.M. Coetzee — not only has he won the Man Booker twice, he is a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Coetzee, a South African native who is now an Australian citizen, made the list with his novel “The Schooldays of Jesus.”

Since 2014, the Man Booker Prize has been open to writers of any nationality. The prize was previously restricted to authors from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Zimbabwe and the Commonwealth of Nations.

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No American has won the award. Last year’s winner, Marlon James (“A Brief History of Seven Killings”), is a Jamaican writer who lives in Minnesota and is a Los Angeles Times Critic at Large.

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“The Sellout” joins four other American books on the longlist: David Means’ “Hystopia,” Ottessa Moshfegh’s “Eileen” (which was a finalist for the NBCC award won by Beatty), Virginia Reeves’ “Work Like Any Other” and Elizabeth Strout’s “My Name Is Lucy Barton.”

This year’s longlist includes six British authors, including A.L. Kennedy for “Serious Sweet” and Deborah Levy for “Hot Milk.”

The last time a British writer took home the prize was 2012, when Hilary Mantel won for “Bring Up the Bodies,” her sequel to “Wolf Hall,” which won the prize in 2009.

Canadian author Madeleine Thien made the list for “Do Not Say We Have Nothing” and David Szalay, a native of Canada who has lived in England for most of his life, with “All That Man Is.”

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The longlist will be winnowed down to a six-book shortlist, which is scheduled to be announced on Sept. 13. The winner of the prize, which is worth about $65,000, will be revealed on Oct. 25 at a ceremony in London.

The complete longlist for the 2016 Man Booker Prize:

Paul Beatty (American), “The Sellout”

J.M. Coetzee (South African-Australian), “The Schooldays of Jesus”

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A.L. Kennedy (British), “Serious Sweet”

Deborah Levy (British), “Hot Milk”

Graeme Macrae Burnet (British), “His Bloody Project”

Ian McGuire (British), “The North Water”

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David Means (American), “Hystopia”

Wyl Menmuir (British), “The Many”

Ottessa Moshfegh (American), “Eileen”

Virginia Reeves (American), “Work Like Any Other”

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Elizabeth Strout (American), “My Name Is Lucy Barton”

David Szalay (Canadian-British), “All That Man Is”

Madeleine Thien (Canadian), “Do Not Say We Have Nothing”

ALSO:

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2016 National Book Critics Circle Award winners

Paul Beatty’s “The Sellout” — book review by Keise Laymon

Ottessa Moshfegh’s “Eileen” — book review by Porochista Khakpour


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