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Man Booker Shortlist Announced!


On July 26th, this blog announced the Man Booker Longlist titles, and today, we have the shortlist.

The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (Myrmidon)
 set in post-second world war Malaya.

Swimming Home by Deborah Levy (And Other Stories)
– in which a young woman entangles herself in the life of an English poet and his family in the south of France.

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate)
– sequel to Man Booker prize-winning Wolf Hall.

The Lighthouse by Alison Moore (Salt)
– a man trying to find himself on a walking holiday.

Umbrella by Will Self (Bloomsbury)
– the story of a victim of the sleeping sickness epidemic at the end of the first world war.

Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil (Faber & Faber)
–  set amongst the opium dens of 1970s Mumbai.

Click here to view the shortlist in pictures.

According to the Guardian, “After last year’s controversial focus on ‘readability’, the judges for this year’s Man Booker prize have concentrated on the ‘pure power of prose’ to pick a confident, eclectic shortlist of titles.”

As reported in the Independent, one of the books on the shortlist, Swimming Home by Deborah Levy, was rejected by traditional publishers and only hit the shelves thanks to a publisher which relies on subscriptions from readers.

Chair of the judges, Sir Peter Stothard, editor of the Times Literary Supplement, said: “We loved the shock of language shown in so many different ways and were exhilarated by the vigour and vividly defined values in the six books that we chose – and in the visible confidence of the novel’s place in forming our words and ideas. We were considering all the time novels, not novelists, texts not reputations. We read and we reread. It was the power and depth of prose that settled most of the judges’ debates. […] Without the renewal of English the novel does nothing very much.”

The winner will be revealed at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall on 16th October. The winner will receive a £50,000 prize, in addition to the £2,500 awarded to all shortlisted writers and, importantly, a huge boost in sales for their work. Last year’s winner, The Sense Of An Ending by Julian Barnes, has sold more than 300,000 print editions in the UK.

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Wolf Hall to be BBC2 Drama


After the success of the Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning ITV show Downton Abbey, it seems BBC2 is following suit with the promise of a new production of Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall and her new novel Bring Up the Bodies.

It will be adapted by Peter Straughan, the man who brought Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy to the big screen. Wolf Hall, a novel charting the rise of Tudor politician Thomas Cromwell, will become a six-part series for BBC2. It is expected to be broadcast in late 2013.

As reported yesterday by the Guardian, the third part of Mantel’s Tudor trilogy, the yet-to-be-published The Mirror and the Light, might form a standalone drama at a later date.

Stressing the channel’s commitment to drama in the face of cuts that from the new year will ravage the daytime schedule, BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow – who named Wolf Hall as among her favourite books of recent years – said the novels were “right in the cross hairs of what BBC2 viewers will enjoy”.

“I think there is a cumulative, mounting hunger for the [dramas] that we do,” said Hadlow. “That doesn’t mean that all of them will be massive audience drivers but I think what drama injects into the channel is of such value … something so powerful that you’d want to protect that at all costs.”

Other new dramas for BBC2, which will air Tom Stoppard’s eagerly awaited adaptation of Parade’s End starring Benedict Cumberbatch tonight at 9pm, include spy thriller The Honourable Woman by Hugo Blick, who wrote and directed the channel’s recent opinion-splitting drama “The Shadow Line”.

Hadlow also spoke about BBC adaptations of Shakespeare and French and Russian classics — for more, see here.

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