The longlist for Britain’s prestigious Man Booker Prize was announced Tuesday after being selected by a panel of judges headed by a former MI5 intelligence chief.
The list of 13, picked from a total of 138 books, includes former winner Alan Hollinghurst, who won the Booker in 2004 with “The Line of Beauty,” and three-time finalist Julian Barnes.
Stella Rimington, the former director-general of Britain’s domestic security agency MI5 and an author herself, is chairing the panel of five judges.
“We are delighted by the quality and breadth of our longlist, which emerged from an impassioned discussion. The list ranges from the Wild West to multi-ethnic London via post-Cold War Moscow and Bucharest,” she said.
The longlist includes four first-time novelists, Stephen Kelman, A.D. Miller, Yvvette Edwards and Patrick McGuinness.
Canadian writers also feature prominently, with three little known writers — Alison Pick, Patrick deWitt and Esi Edugyan — making the list.
The 13 will be whittled down to a shortlist of six authors in September, with the winner to be announced on October 18.
One of the highest-profile awards in English language literature, the £50,000 ($82,000, €56,000) annual Booker Prize is awarded for the best work of fiction by an author from the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland or Zimbabwe.
Contenders must have been published in the past year and write in English. The prize all but guarantees an upsurge in book sales.
Last year’s prize was won by Howard Jacobson for “The Finkler Question”, which has sold more than 250,000 copies in Britain.
The long list for the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction is:
Julian Barnes — “The Sense of an Ending”
Sebastian Barry — “On Canaan’s Side”
Carol Birch — “Jamrach’s Menagerie”
Patrick deWitt — “The Sisters Brothers”
Esi Edugyan — “Half Blood Blues”
Yvvette Edwards — “A Cupboard Full of Coats”
Alan Hollinghurst — “The Stranger’s Child”
Stephen Kelman — “Pigeon English”
Patrick McGuinness — “The Last Hundred Days”
A.D. Miller — “Snowdrops”
Alison Pick — “Far to Go”
Jane Rogers — “The Testament of Jessie Lamb”
D.J. Taylor — “Derby Day”
The sense of an ending.