The Man Booker Prize rolled out its 2017 shortlist on Wednesday, delivering a list of six nominees showcasing a hefty dose of literary heavyweights and a pair of newcomers. Of the six novels on the list, just one will go on to win this year's prestigious literary prize at gala ceremony next month in London.
Readers won't have too hard a time recognizing several nominees. Ali Smith, for one, has now made the Man Booker shortlist four times in less than two decades, this time for Autumn. Paul Auster, for another, has racked up his fair share of recognition during a prolific career that includes the seminal New York Trilogy. His 880-page opus 4 3 2 1 has earned a nod from Man Booker judges.
And while the shortlisted Lincoln in the Bardo might be George Saunders' first novel, it's far from his first work. His short fiction has previously earned him the Folio Prize, a MacArthur "genius grant" and a spot on the shortlist for the National Book Award.
Mohsin Hamid, nominated for Exit West, is no stranger to the Man Booker shortlist himself, having already earned a 2007 nod for The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
So far, few surprises — but the shortlist announced Wednesday did showcase some fresh faces. Fiona Mozley, a 29-year-old doctoral candidate in medieval history, made the list with Elmet, her debut novel. In fact, she didn't even "want to expect it to be published," she tells The Standard in the U.K. "I thought if I didn't tell my friends I was writing it, I'd be more likely to finish. So I just got on with it."
Mozley is not the only debut novelist. Emily Fridlund's History of Wolves — which "is as beautiful and as icy as the Minnesota woods where it's set," NPR's review writes — rounds out the 2017 shortlist.
"Playful, sincere, unsettling, fierce: here is a group of novels grown from tradition but also radical and contemporary," judge Baroness Lola Young says in a statement. "The emotional, cultural, political and intellectual range of these books is remarkable, and the ways in which they challenge our thinking is a testament to the power of literature."
Below, find the full shortlist, linked to NPR's reviews of the works and interviews with their authors, where possible.
- Paul Auster, 4 3 2 1
- Emily Fridlund, History of Wolves
- Mohsin Hamid, Exit West
- Fiona Mozley, Elmet
- George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo
- Ali Smith, Autumn