Looking for some new reading material this autumn? Well, you’re in luck. The 2018 Man Booker Prize longlist winner has been announced, and Anna Burns has become the first Northern Irish author to get the title for her novel, Milkman.
Earlier this year, the 2018 longlist – otherwise known as the ‘Man Booker Dozen’ – was carefully selected by a panel of five expert judges including philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah (Chair judge); crime writer Val McDermid; cultural critic Leo Robson; feminist writer and critic Jacqueline Rose; and artist and graphic novelist Leanne Shapton.
Burns has now taken home the £50,000 winning prize as judges unanimously decided her ‘utterly distinctive’ timely novel was a clear standout.
As the most prestigious literature award in Britain, the novels nominated for the Man Booker Prize are as good as recommendations get. And for the first time ever, this year’s list included graphic novels.
See the full list of this year’s nominations below:
WINNER: Anna Burns, UK – Milkman (Faber & Faber)
This is a story of a young woman (an unnamed narrator) who desperately tries to keep her romance with a senior paramilitary figure from her mother in a city where being ‘interesting’ is very dangerous.
Belinda Bauer, UK – Snap (Bantam Press)
Set in 1998, Belina Bauer’s latest thriller follows 11-year-old Jack and his two sisters as they’re left stranded in a broken down car on the M5, while they wait for their mother Catherine to come back and rescue them. Instead, she disappears for good.
Nick Drnaso, USA – Sabrina (Granta Books)
The first ever graphic novel to be entered into the Man Booker Prize longlist, Nick Drnaso’s Sabrina is about the disappearance of a young woman and how it is dealt with in our current climate.
Esi Edugyan, Canada – Washington Black (Serpent’s Tail)
Set in a 19th century sugar plantation field in Barbados, Edugyan’s novel tells the story of George Washington Black – an 11-year-old slave who is selected to be the personal servant of Englishmen Christopher Titch’ Wilde, a scientist/inventor and explorer with a single-minded pursuit of the perfect aerial machine.
Guy Gunaratne, UK – In Our Mad And Furious City (Tinder Press)
After the murder of a British soldier, viscous riots spread across London changing the lives of our protagonist, Selvon, Ardan and Yusuf – three young men from a North London estate whose summer holiday, which was supposed to be all about girls and grime, takes a dark turn.
Daisy Johnson, UK – Everything Under (Jonathan Cape)
Daisy Johnson’s debut novel focuses on the troubled relationship between a mother and her daughter.
Rachel Kushner, USA – The Mars Room (Jonathan Cape)
Set in a Women’s Correctional Facility in California, The Mars Room follows protagonist Romy Hall who is about to face two consecutive life sentences.
Sophie Mackintosh, UK – The Water Cure (Hamish Hamilton)
Here, readers are taken to a world where women are not safe in their bodies and desperate measures are required to raise a daughter – a fact that becomes very apparent to a mother of three daughters when her partner, King, vanishes.
Michael Ondaatje, Canada – Warlight (Jonathan Cape)
When 14-year-old Nathaniel and his older sister Rachel are left in the care of a mysterious figure named after their parents leave the country for work, Nathaniel discovers his babysitter’s criminal encounters and is quickly caught up in it all.
Richard Powers, USA – The Overstory (William Heinemann)
A series of strangers – each summoned in different ways by trees – are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest, as Powers highlights the world’s environmental issues.
Robin Robertson, UK – The Long Take (Picador)
The Long Take follows protagonist Walker, a D-Day veteran with post traumatic stress disorder, from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco in search of an accommodation with the violence of war.
Sally Rooney, Ireland – Normal People (Faber & Faber)
A follow up to her hit 2017 debut Conversations With Friends, Rooney’s Normal People is a coming of age story that follows Connell and Marianne from school in small town Ireland to university in Dublin, exploring themes of love, friendship and wit.
Donal Ryan, Ireland – From A Low And Quiet Sea (Doubleday Ireland)
Finally, Donal Ryan curates the stories of a series of people including Syrian refugee, a crooked accountant and an angry young man with a broken heart in his latest book, From A Low And Quiet Sea.
Following the release of this year’s nominations, Kwame Anthony Appiah, chair of the 2018 judging panel, said: ‘Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the times, there were many dystopian fictions on our bookshelf – and many novels we found inspirational as well as disturbing. Some of those we have chosen for this longlist feel urgent and topical, others might have been admired and enjoyed in any year.’
‘All of these books – which take in slavery, ecology, missing persons, inner-city violence, young love, prisons, trauma, race – capture something about a world on the brink. Among their many remarkable qualities is a willingness to take risks with form. And we 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.’
‘Still, despite what they have in common, every one of these books is wildly distinctive. It’s been an exhilarating journey so far and we’re looking forward to reading them again. But now we’ll have thousands and thousands of people reading along with us.’
All the books mentioned above are available on Amazon.