Man Booker Prize shortlist includes Jhumpa Lahiri, Colm Toibin

Books including 'The Lowland' by Jhumpa Lahiri and 'We Need New Names' by NoViolet Bulawayo made the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize this year, and some are calling the shortened list of nominees the best in years.

'The Testament of Mary' and 'We Need New Names' were two of the novels to make the Man Booker Prize shortlist.

The novels that made the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize this year are a diverse group, taking place on multiple continents and written by authors who are new on the scene as well as those who are well-established literary talents.

The six books that made the list are “The Testament of Mary” by Colm Toibin, “A Tale for the Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki, “The Lowland” by Jhumpa Lahiri, “We Need New Names” by NoViolet Bulawayo, “The Luminaries” by Eleanor Catton, and “Harvest” by Jim Crace

The list comes with a couple of firsts: “Mary” is the shortest book ever nominated for the Man Booker at only a little over 100 pages. In addition, Bulawayo is the first black African female author to make the list for her debut novel “Names.”

Crace and Toibin have both made the shortlist of the Booker before – Toibin has made the nominations twice – but Lahiri, Bulawayo, Catton, and Ozeki are all named for the first time.

Chairman of the judging panel Robert Macfarlane said he and his fellow appraisers were searching for “novel novels.”

“We looked for books that sought to extend the power and possibility of the form,” he said in a statement.

The Man Booker Prize will be given out on Oct. 15 and the winner will receive a 50,000 pound (or about $80,000) award. The prize is given to a writer who hails from the UK, Ireland, or one of the countries that is part of the group known as the Commonwealth Nations (this includes Australia, Canada, and others) and whose book is written in English and not self-published.

Last year, Hilary Mantel’s novel “Bring Up the Bodies” was considered the book that was in the lead when the Booker shortlist was announced, but this year may be a little harder to predict, with the Telegraph saying this is an “impossibly tough year to call.”

The literary community seems especially impressed by the six novels vying for the prize, with Guardian writer Sarah Churchwell calling the nominees “perhaps the best shortlist in a decade.”

“[The judges] have not settled for safe mediocrity, or the usual suspects,” she wrote. “It is a marvellous list of books… and it does what it is meant to do: advocate for new fiction in general, and these superb books in particular.”

Telegraph writer Gaby Wood agreed.

“When the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize was announced at a press conference on Tuesday morning, even I was surprised by how happy it made me,” she wrote. “The choices were both brave and solid – each one exceptional yet indisputably skilled; and as a collection, as a joint way of saying ‘this is what the novel can be,’ it was incredibly exciting.”

While you wait for the winner, check out our reviews of "We Need New Names" and "A Tale for the Time Being."

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Man Booker Prize shortlist includes Jhumpa Lahiri, Colm Toibin
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today