The longlist for the Man Booker Prize, considered one of the most prestigious English-language fiction awards in the world, was announced on Monday, and a graphic novel made the cut for the first time in the literary prize’s history.
“Sabrina,” a graphic novel by author and illustrator Nick Drnaso, was one of three books by American authors to be nominated for the prize. Judges praised the book for being “oblique, subtle, minimal, unmanipulative.”
The other Americans to make the longlist were Rachel Kushner for “The Mars Room” and Richard Powers for “The Overstory.” The inclusion of American authors on Man Booker longlists has been controversial ever since U.S. authors were made eligible for the prize in 2014.
Since then, two American authors, Paul Beatty and George Saunders, have taken home the prize. Marlon James, a Jamaican author who now lives in America, won the 2015 award.
Six British writers were nominated this year, along with two Canadians and two Irish authors. Michael Ondaatje, who earlier this month won the special Golden Man Booker Prize for “The English Patient,” made the longlist for his novel “Warlight.”
Some eagle-eyed readers were able to take a glimpse at the longlist before it was officially announced. The Guardian published the list prematurely on Monday, but quickly took it down, explaining that it accidentally broke an embargo on the announcement.
Although the Man Booker often recognizes the work of novelists with long track records, four of the books on the longlist are by debut authors. None of them — “Everything Under” by Daisy Johnson, “The Water Cure” by Sophie Mackintosh, “The Long Take” by Robin Robertson and “In Our Mad and Furious City” by Guy Gunaratne — are available yet in America (Johnson’s book will be published by Graywolf in January 2019).
The longlist of 13 books will be whittled down to a shortlist of six, which is set to be announced on Sept. 20.
Kwame Anthony Appiah, chair of the panel of Booker judges, praised the books: “Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the times, there were many dystopian fictions on our bookshelf — and many novels we found inspirational as well as disturbing,” he said. "[W]e were struck, overall, by their disruptive power: these novels disrupted the way we thought about things we knew about, and made us think about things we didn’t know about.”
The winner of the award, which comes with a $65,000 cash prize, will be named at a ceremony in London on Oct. 16.
The full list of longlisted titles is below.
Belinda Bauer (UK), “Snap”
Anna Burns (UK), “Milkman”
Nick Drnaso (USA), “Sabrina”
Esi Edugyan (Canada), “Washington Black”
Guy Gunaratne (UK), “In Our Mad and Furious City”
Daisy Johnson (UK), “Everything Under”
Rachel Kushner (USA), “The Mars Room” (L.A. Times review)
Sophie Mackintosh (UK), “The Water Cure”
Michael Ondaatje (Canada), “Warlight” (L.A. Times review)
Richard Powers (USA), “The Overstory”
Robin Robertson (UK), “The Long Take”
Sally Rooney (Ireland), “Normal People”
Donal Ryan (Ireland), “From a Low and Quiet Sea”