Colm Toibin and Jim Crace are in with a chance of winning the 2013 Man Booker Prize, along with Caine Prize winner NoViolet Bulawayo, Amazon First Novel winner Eleanor Catton, Pulitzer winner Jhumpa Lahiri, and American Book Award winner Ruth Ozeki.
Both Crace and Tóibín have been
previously nominated for the Man Booker, Tóibín twice, while Crace recently emphasized his intention to retire from writing, which would make "Harvest" his last novel.
NoViolet Bulawayo's debut, "We Need New Names," follows a 10-year-old immigrant girl from Zimbabwe to the USA; Catton's "The Luminaries" tells of mysterious crimes during the New Zealand gold rush; "The Lowland" takes place in both India and America, author Lahiri's twin homelands; "A Tale for the Time Being" by Canadian-American Ozeki is set in Japan, birthplace of the author's mother.
Each of the six have been feted by critics, but Colm Tóibín and Jim Crace have established themselves as mainstream successes over the last twenty years.
"Quarantine" was Crace's first appearance on a Booker Prize shortlist in 1997, while Tóibín's "The Blackwater Lightship" and "The Master" were similarly well-recieved by prize judges in 1999 and 2004 respectively, though neither has yet won the award.
Now Crace returns with "Harvest," a story of a village caught in a confrontation between urban progression and ruralism, the familiar and the strange, while Tóibín's "The Testament of Mary" portrays Jesus' mother as an uncooperative old woman, resistant to the gospel writers' overtures.
In contrast, Eleanor Catton remains in the frame to become a Booker Prize winner with only her second novel.
The winner will be declared on October 15, with a £50,000 prize. Eligible authors are all citizens of the UK, Republic of Ireland, or otherwise Commonwealth countries.
Man Booker Prize 2013 shortlist
"We Need New Names" by NoViolet Bulawayo
"The Luminaries" by Eleanor Catton
"Harvest" by Jim Crace
"The Lowland" by Jhumpa Lahiri
"A Tale for the Time Being" by Ruth Ozeki
"The Testament of Mary" by Colm Toibin
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