Two Indians, Nikita Lalwani and Indra Sinha, are in contention for this years’ Man Booker Prize, Britain’s most coveted and prestigious literary award.
Lalwani’s first novel Gifted and Sinha’s Animal's People are among the 13-title longlist for the £50,000 book of the year prize. A six-strong shortlist will be unveiled on September 6, and the winner announced at the Guildhall in London on October 16.
Darkmansby Nicola Barker (Publisher: 4th Estate)
Self Help by Edward Docx (Picador)
The Gift Of Rain by Tan Twan Eng (Myrmidon)
The Gathering by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by MohsinHamid (Hamish Hamilton)
The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies (Sceptre)
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (John Murray)
Gifted by Nikita Lalwani (Viking)
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (Jonathan Cape)
What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn (Tindal Street)
Consolation by Michael Redhill (William Heinemann)
Animal's People by Indra Sinha (Simon & Schuster)
Winnie & Wolf by AN Wilson (Hutchinson)
The judges for this year's prize are: Howard Davies, director of the London School of Economics and Political Science; Wendy Cope, poet; Giles Foden, journalist and author; Ruth Scurr, biographer and critic; and Imogen Stubbs, actor and writer.
The longlist was whittled down from 110 entries from across the UK, Ireland and the Commonwealth, after judges spent more than six hours deliberating on the final 13.
It remains to be if either Lalwani or Sinha would follow Kiran Desai who won last year for her novel The Inheritance of Loss.
The inclusion of two India-born novelists in a list, which Janine Cook, fiction buyer of Waterstone’s, the biggest bookstore in Europe, described as “The Man Booker at its best — a longlist that champions new emerging writers”, is commendable and highlights the presence of Indian writers in the contemporary English literary world.
The list — described as that of “David and Goliaths” — is shorn of well-known household names and dominated by newcomers. But a commentator said the highly charged stories from around the world have a strong presence.
Chair of judges, Howard Davies, said: “All the books chosen are well-crafted and will appeal to a wide readership.”
The bookies have installed Ian McEwan for his On Chesil Beach, a tragic love story set in the sixties, as a 3-1 favourite to win this year’s prize.
With three previous appearances on the shortlist for the author, he will face competition from authors including AN Wilson, Nicola Barker, Lloyd Jones and Anne Enright.
Apart from McEwan, no other contenders have even been shortlisted in the past, including Lalwani and Sinha.