Last night in the UK, there was an announcement of a more bookish kind than the Royal ones we’ve been inundated with coverage of: the longlist for the 45th annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

“This is surely the most diverse longlist in Man Booker history, wonderfully various in terms of geography, form, length and subject,” Chair of judges Robert Macfarlane said upon the announcement. “These outstanding novels range from the traditional to the experimental, from the first century AD to the present day, from 100 pages to 1,000 and from Shanghai to Hendon.”

There are 13 works on the longlist selected from 151 titles, with authors from Britain, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Canada, Malaysia and Ireland. As with last year’s Man Booker, no Australian novelists made it to the longlist this year. Over half the longlisted works are from female authors (seven novels by women, six by men), while three debut novelists are among the titles: NoViolet Bulawayo for We Need New Names, Eve Harris with The Marrying of Chani Kaufman and Donal Ryan for The Spinning Heart.

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Last year, Hilary Mantel made history as the first woman and the first British author to win the prize twice, when she took out the 2012 award for Bring up the Bodies. This year’s longlist contains no previous winners, but of the 13, two have appeared on the shortlist before: Jim Crace was shortlisted in 1997 for Quarantine, while Colm Tóibín has been shortlisted twice: in 1999 for The Blackwater Lightship and The Master in 2004.

In a playful nod to the Royal Baby mania, the longlist was announced on social media with a photoshopped image mimicking the easel outside Buckingham Palace. (Although, oddly the images have since been removed from the official Man Booker Facebook and Twitter accounts.)

The thirteen longlisted titles are:

  • Five Star Billionaire Tash Aw (Fourth Estate)
  • We Need New Names NoViolet Bulawayo (Chatto & Windus)
  • The Luminaries Eleanor Catton (Granta)
  • Harvest Jim Crace (Picador)
  • The Marrying of Chani Kaufman Eve Harris (Sandstone Press)
  • The Kills Richard House (Picador)
  • The Lowland Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury)
  • Unexploded Alison MacLeod ( Hamish Hamilton)
  • TransAtlantic Colum McCann (Bloomsbury)
  • Almost English Charlotte Mendelson (Mantle)
  • A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki (Canongate)
  • The Spinning Heart Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland)
  • The Testament of Mary Colm Tóibín (Viking)

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.

The shortlist of six books will be announced on September 10 with the overall winner of the 2013 prize to be revealed on October 15.

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