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In the world of literary awards, the British Man Booker stands out as one of the most prestigious and lucrative. So every year writers and their editors and agents are eager to find out who did the final cut. On Tuesday, the six writers who made the shortlist were revealed.
Two Americans, two Brits and two Canadians are now competing for the prize, which is awarded annually for a novel written in English and published in the UK.
According to the award’s website, this year’s judges were not swayed by literary stardom by narrowing the long list from the 13 to the bottom six. Writers as popular as South African JM Coetzee and American Elizabeth Strout have been left behind in favor of an eclectic mix of writers, including first novelist Ottessa Moshfegh for Eileen. Deborah Levy, author of Hot milk, is on the shortlist for the second time. The others are newcomers to the list: Paul Beatty for The sell-off; Graeme Macrae Burnet, author of his bloody project; Madeleine Thien for Don’t say we have nothing; and David Szalay, who wrote All this man is.
In announcing their decision, the judges cited the “willingness of writers to play with language and form.” They also noted the important role that novels can have “in exploring culture and tackling unfamiliar and difficult subjects”. And these novels cover a wide range of topics: a murder trial set in 19th-century Scotland, a satirical take on race relations in the United States, a family of musicians caught up in the political turmoil of modern China, and more. .
The winner of the Man Booker Award 2016 will be announced at a ceremony in London on October 25. Along with a prize of 50,000 pounds, the lucky writer is likely to leave this ceremony with a much higher profile and quite possibly a big boost in book sales.