LONDON — Two Canadians are among 13 novelists nominated for Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize for fiction.
Madeleine Thien of Vancouver and Canadian-born David Szalay got nods for their novels “Do Not Say We Have Nothing” and “All That Man Is” respectively.
Celebrated South African novelist J.M. Coetzee and U.S. Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout are also among the contenders announced Wednesday.
Coetzee’s “The Schooldays of Jesus” and Strout’s “My Name is Lucy Barton” are among the best-known titles on a 13-book longlist that spurned big-name writers including Ian McEwan and Don DeLillo in favour of less famous authors and first-time novelists.
Coetzee, who lives in Australia, is the early bookies’ favourite and would become the first triple Booker winner if he takes the prize. He won in 1983 with “Life and Times of Michael K” and in 1999 with “Disgrace.”
Strout won the fiction Pulitzer in 2009 for “Olive Kitteridge,” which was turned into a HBO miniseries starring Frances McDormand.
The eclectic list features four first novels — David Means’ “Hystpoia,” Wyl Menmuir’s “The Many,” Ottessa Moshfegh’s “Eileen” and Virginia Reeves’ “Work Like Any Other” — alongside established authors such as A.K. Kennedy for “Serious Sweet” and Deborah Levy for “Hot Milk.”
There’s also a rare nomination for a crime thriller, Graeme Macrae Burnet’s “His Bloody Project.”
Biographer Amanda Foreman, who chairs the five-member judging panel, said the books had “provoked intense discussion and, at times, passionate debate, challenging our expectations of what a novel is and can be.”
Previously open to writers from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth, the Booker expanded in 2014 to include all English-language authors. Despite fears of U.S. dominance, there has not yet been an American winner of the prize, which usually brings the victor a huge sales boost.
Six finalists will be announced Sept. 13 and the winner of the 50,000 pound (C$86,000) prize will be named on Oct. 25.
Founded in 1969, the award is named after its sponsor, financial services firm Man Group PLC.
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