The longlist for the 44th annual Man Booker Prize was announced last night in the UK. The prize ‘aims to promote the finest in fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland,’ with the overall winner receiving a £50,000 prize.

There are 12 works on the longlist selected from 146 titles, with seven novels by men, five by women. Nine of the authors are British, one Indian, one South African and one Malaysian – however, no Australian novelists made it to the longlist this year.

The judges chose four debut novelists among the longlisted titles: Rachel Joyce for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse, Jeet Thayil with Narcopolis and Sam Thompson for Communion Town. A previous winner, Hilary Mantel – who won in 2009 with Wolf Hall – was chosen for her follow up, Bring Up The Bodies.

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The Guardian has noted that the longlist overlooks ‘some of the biggest names in contemporary fiction, including Zadie Smith, Ian McEwan and Martin Amis.’ But Chair of judges, Sir Peter Stothard said in a statement about the longlist, ‘We did not set out to reject the old guard but, after a year of sustained critical argument by a demanding panel of judges, the new has come powering through.’

The twelve longlisted novels are:

  • Nicola Barker, The Yips (Fourth Estate)
  • Ned Beauman, The Teleportation Accident (Sceptre)
  • André Brink, Philida (Harvill Secker)
  • Tan Twan Eng, The Garden of Evening Mists (Myrmidon Books)
  • Michael Frayn, Skios (Faber & Faber)
  • Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Doubleday)
  • Deborah Levy, Swimming Home (And Other Stories)
  • Hilary Mantel, Bring up the Bodies (Fourth Estate)
  • Alison Moore, The Lighthouse (Salt)
  • Will Self, Umbrella (Bloomsbury)
  • Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis (Faber & Faber)
  • Sam Thompson, Communion Town (Fourth Estate)

The shortlist of six authors will be announced on Tuesday 11 September with the overall winner of the 2012 prize to be revealed on Tuesday 16 October.

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