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The Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2014: shortlist announced

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2014: shortlist announced

For immediate release, Tuesday 9 September


2014 Man Booker Prize: shortlist announced


  • The first year that the prize is open to all authors writing in English, regardless of nationality

  • Howard Jacobson in the running to be the first British man to win twice


Joshua Ferris, Richard Flanagan, Karen Joy Fowler, Howard Jacobson, Neel

Mukherjee and Ali Smith are today, Tuesday 9 September, announced as the shortlisted authors for the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.


Their names were revealed by chair of judges, AC Grayling, at a press conference at the headquarters of Man Group, a leading investment management firm and the prize’s sponsor since 2002.


The judges praised the ‘depth and range’ of the list, which includes writers from Britain, the United States and Australia.


The shortlist of six, taken from a longlist of 13, is:


Author (nationality)                  Title (imprint)

Joshua Ferris (US)                          To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)

Richard Flanagan (Australian)     The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus)

Karen Joy Fowler (US)                   We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves           (Serpent's Tail)

Howard Jacobson (British)                       J (Jonathan Cape)

Neel Mukherjee (British)              The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)

Ali Smith (British)                          How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton)


Chair of the 2014 judges, AC Grayling, comments on behalf of the judges:


‘We are delighted to announce our international shortlist. As the Man Booker Prize expands its borders, these six exceptional books take the reader on journeys around the world, between the UK, New York, Thailand, Italy, Calcutta and times past, present and future.


‘We had a lengthy and intensive debate to whittle the list down to these six.  It is a strong, thought-provoking shortlist which we believe demonstrates the wonderful depth and range of contemporary fiction in English.’


This is the first list to reflect the diversity of the novel in English regardless of the author’s nationality, as the Man Booker Prize has opened up to any author writing originally in English and published in the UK. Previously, the prize was open to authors from the UK & Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.


Two authors have previously appeared on the prize shortlist. Howard Jacobson is a former winner of the prize, with The Finkler Question, in 2010. Ali Smith has been shortlisted twice before, with The Accidental (2005) and Hotel World (2001).


AC Grayling is joined on the 2014 panel of judges by: Jonathan Bate; Sarah Churchwell; Daniel Glaser; Alastair Niven and Erica Wagner. The 2014 judges will now re-read the shortlisted titles in order to select the winner, whose name will be revealed on Tuesday 14 October 2014 at a ceremony at London’s Guildhall. The winner announcement will be televised by the BBC, the prize’s media partner.


Man Group has sponsored the prize since 2002. A leading investment management firm, Man Group was recognised as a partner who mirrored the quality, integrity and longevity of the Booker Prize.


Manny Roman, CEO of Man Group, comments:


‘We are very proud to sponsor the Man Booker Prize, recognising the hard work and creativity of these talented authors. The prize underscores Man Group's charitable focus on literacy and education as well as our commitment to excellence and entrepreneurship. Together with the wider charitable activities of the Man Booker Foundation, the prize plays a very important role in promoting literary excellence that we are honoured to support. Many congratulations to the shortlisted authors.’


The shortlisted authors will take part in a series of public events in the week leading up to the winner announcement, to include: an event for members of the public and UK library staff at the Library of Birmingham on Wednesday 8 October; a talk and signing at The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival on Saturday 11 October and an audience with the authors at the Southbank Centre on Monday 13 October, hosted by broadcaster Kirsty Wark. Finally, there will be an audience with the winner at Apple’s Regent Street branch on Thursday 16 October.


The Man Booker Prize, formerly the Booker Prize, was first awarded in 1969 to PH Newby for Something to Answer For. It is widely regarded as a touchstone for high quality literary fiction written in English, including in its canon many of the literary trailblazers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: from Salman Rushdie to Hilary Mantel, Iris Murdoch to Peter Carey.


The rules of the prize changed at the end of 2013, to embrace ‘the freedom of English in all its vigour, its vitality, its versatility and its glory wherever it may be’, opening up to writers beyond the UK and Commonwealth. Other changes this year include the number of books a publisher can submit, based on their success in longlists over the previous five years.


The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. On winning the Man Booker Prize, an author will receive a further £50,000 and can expect overnight fame and international recognition, not to mention a dramatic increase in book sales. Sales of Hilary Mantel’s winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, have exceeded a million copies in their UK editions published by Fourth Estate. Granta, publisher of Eleanor Catton’s 2013 winner, The Luminaries, has sold 300,000 copies of the book in the UK and almost 500,000 worldwide.


To hear the most up-to-date news on this year’s prize, learn more about its history and share your thoughts online, visit:                                                                                                       




For all press enquiries please contact:

Katy MacMillan-Scott or Ellie Hughes at Four Colman Getty

020 3697 4253/ 07786 567887 (Katy)

020 3697 4256/ 07990 632041 (Ellie)

The shortlist


To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

By Joshua Ferris

Published by Viking (£16.99)


Paul O'Rourke, 40 year-old slightly curmudgeonly dentist, runs a thriving practice in New York. Yet he is discovering he needs more in his life than a steady income and the perfect mochaccino. But what? As Paul tries to work out the meaning of life, a Facebook page and Twitter account appear in his name. What's at first an outrageous violation of privacy soon becomes something more frightening: the possibility that the online "Paul" might be a better version of the man in the flesh. Who is doing this and will it cost Paul his sanity?


Joshua Ferris was born in Illinois in November 1974. He is the author of two previous novels, Then We Came to the End, which was nominated for the National Book Award, won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, and the highly acclaimed The Unnamed. In 2010, Joshua Ferris was selected for The New Yorker's '20 Under 40' list of fiction writers. He lives in New York.


For further information, please contact Anna Ridley at Viking

Tel: 0207 010 3278, email:    



The Narrow Road to the Deep North

By Richard Flanagan

Published by Chatto & Windus (£16.99)


The Narrow Road to the Deep North is a love story unfolding over half a century between a doctor and his uncle’s wife. Taking its title from one of the most famous books in Japanese literature, written by the great haiku poet Basho, Flanagan’s novel has as its heart one of the most infamous episodes of Japanese history, the construction of the Thailand-Burma Death Railway in World War II. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Death Railway, surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.


Born in Tasmania in July 1961, Richard Flanagan is one of Australia’s leading novelists. His novels, Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Gould's Book of Fish (winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize), The Unknown Terrorist and Wanting have received numerous honours and been published in 26 countries. His father, who died the day Flanagan finished The Narrow Road to the Deep North, was a survivor of the Burma Death Railway. He lives in Tasmania.


For further information, please contact Lisa Gooding at Chatto & Windus

Tel: 0207 840 8677, email:








We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Karen Joy Fowler

Published by Serpent's Tail (£12.99)


As a child, Rosemary used to talk all the time. So much so that her parents used to tell her to

start in the middle if she wanted to tell a story. Now Rosemary has just started college and

she barely talks at all. And she definitely doesn’t talk about her family. So we're not going to

tell you too much either: you'll have to find out for yourself what it is that makes her

unhappy family unlike any other. Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a

sister the same age as her, and an older brother.  Both are now gone - vanished from her life.

But there's something unique about Rosemary's sister, Fern. So now she's telling her story; a

looping narrative that begins towards the end, and then goes back to the beginning. Twice.


Karen Joy Fowler was born in Indiana in February 1950. She is the author of six novels and three short story collections. The Jane Austen Book Club spent 13 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list and was a New York Times Notable Book. Fowler’s previous novel, Sister Noon, was a finalist for the 2001 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction. Sarah Canary won the Commonwealth medal for best first novel by a Californian, and was listed for the Irish Times International Fiction Prize as well as the Bay Area Book Reviewers Prize. Fowler’s short story collection Black Glass won the World Fantasy Award in 1999, and her collection What I Didn’t See won the World Fantasy Award in 2011. She is the co-founder of the James Tiptree, Jr. Award and the current president of the Clarion Foundation (also known as Clarion San Diego). She lives in California.


For further information, please contact Hannah Ross at Serpent’s Tail

Tel: 0207 841 6307, email:             




By Howard Jacobson

Published by Jonathan Cape (£18.99)


Set in the future, a world where the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited, J is a love story of incomparable strangeness, both tender and terrifying. Two people fall in love, not yet knowing where they have come from or where they are going. Kevern doesn’t know why his father always drew two fingers across his lips when he said a world starting with a J. It wasn’t then, and isn’t now, the time or place to be asking questions. Ailinn too has grown up in the dark about who she was or where she came from. On their first date Kevern kisses the bruises under her eyes. He doesn’t ask who hurt her. Brutality has grown commonplace. They aren’t sure if they have fallen in love of their own accord, or whether they’ve been pushed into each other’s arms. But who would have pushed them, and why? Hanging over the lives of all the characters in this novel is a momentous catastrophe – a past event shrouded in suspicion, denial and apology, now referred to as What Happened, If It Happened.


An award-winning writer and broadcaster, Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester in August 1942, brought up in Prestwich and was educated at Stand Grammar School in Whitefield, and Downing College, Cambridge, where he studied under FR Leavis. He lectured for three years at the University of Sydney before returning to teach at Selwyn College, Cambridge. His books include: The Mighty Waltzer (1999), winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize; Kalooki Nights (2006), longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and The Finkler Question (2010), winner of the Man Booker Prize. He lives in London.


For further information, please contact Alice Broderick at Jonathan Cape

Tel: 020 7840 8425, email:           

The Lives of Others

By Neel Mukherjee

Published by Chatto & Windus (£16.99)


Calcutta, 1967. Unnoticed by his family, Supratik has become dangerously involved in extremist political activism. Compelled by an idealistic desire to change his life and the world around him, all he leaves behind before disappearing is this note…


The ageing patriarch and matriarch of his family, the Ghoshes, preside over their large household, unaware that beneath the barely ruffled surface of their lives the sands are shifting. More than poisonous rivalries among sisters-in-law, destructive secrets, and the implosion of the family business, this is a family unravelling as the society around it fractures. For this is a moment of turbulence, of inevitable and unstoppable change: the chasm between the generations, and between those who have and those who have not, has never been wider. 


Neel Mukherjee was born in Calcutta in March 1970. His first novel, A Life Apart (2010), won the Vodafone-Crossword Award in India, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award for best fiction, and was shortlisted for the inaugural DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. The Lives of Others is his second novel. He lives in London.


For further information, please contact Ruth Warburton / Kate Bland at Chatto & Windus

Tel: 0207 840 8688, email:



How to be Both

By Ali Smith

Published by Hamish Hamilton (£16.99)


How to be Both is a novel all about art's versatility.  Borrowing from painting's fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it's a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions.  There's a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There's the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real - and all life's givens get given a second chance.


Ali Smith was born in Inverness in August 1962. She won the Saltire First Book Award and a Scottish Arts Council Award in 1995 for her first collection of stories, Free Love. Her first novel, Like, was published in 1997 and her second collection of stories, Other Stories and Other Stories, in 1999. Hotel World, her second novel, was shortlisted for the 2001 Booker Prize and the Orange Prize. The Accidental, was shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize in 2005. She lives in Cambridge.


For further information, please contact

Tel: 0207 010 3278, email:    





Notes to Editors

  • The six shortlisted books were chosen from a longlist of 13 books. They were:


Author                      Title (Publisher)

Joshua Ferris             To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)

Richard Flanagan      The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus)

Karen Joy Fowler       We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent's Tail)

Siri Hustvedt              The Blazing World (Sceptre)

Howard Jacobson      J (Jonathan Cape)

Paul Kingsnorth         The Wake (Unbound)

David Mitchell           The Bone Clocks (Sceptre)

Neel Mukherjee         The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)

David Nicholls                       Us (Hodder & Stoughton)

Joseph O'Neill                        The Dog (Fourth Estate)

Richard Powers         Orfeo   (Atlantic Books)

Ali Smith                    How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton)

Niall Williams                        History of the Rain (Bloomsbury)


  • The longlisted books were selected from a total of 154 titles, nine of which were called in by the judges


  • UK publishers may submit novels written in the English language and published in the UK between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2014. The number of books a publisher can submit will depend on that publisher’s inclusion in longlists over the previous five years, as follows:


  • 1 submission - publishers with no longlistings

  • 2 submissions - publishers with 1 or 2 longlisting(s)

  • 3 submissions - publishers with 3 or 4 longlistings

  • 4 submissions - publishers with 5 or more longlistings


This means that the number of submissions for each publisher may change year on year. The rule which allows submission of any new title by an author who has previously been shortlisted for the Booker (pre-2002) or Man Booker Prize remains


  • In addition, the judges ‘call in’ a number of novels each year: in addition to their main submission, a publisher may submit a list of up to five titles for consideration, accompanied by a justification from the editor. The judges are required to call in no fewer than eight and no more than 12 of these titles. The judges are also permitted to call in other books published within the requisite dates, even if the book has not been submitted through any other route


  • Eleanor Catton won the 2013 Man Booker Prize for Fiction with The Luminaries (Granta). To date, Granta have sold 300,000 copies in the UK and almost 500,000 worldwide


  • The prize was first awarded in 1969 and has been sponsored by the Man Group since 2002. The long-term future of the prize was secured in 2011 with the announcement of a renewed 10 year sponsorship from the Man Group. The title ‘Booker Prize’ therefore only applies to prize years 1969 – 2001, before Man Group plc’s sponsorship began and since 2002 it has been called The Man Booker Prize for Fiction. It would be greatly appreciated if you could ensure that your editorial is factually correct by referring to the prize’s full title at least once, if not in the headline, then in your next subsequent mention.  For a full history of the prize including previous winners, shortlisted authors and judges visit the website:


  • The Booker Prize Foundation Advisory Committee, which advises on any changes to the rules and on the selection of the judges, represents all aspects of the book world.   Its members are:


Ion Trewin, Chair (Literary Director, Booker Prize Foundation); Richard Cable, publisher; Mark Chilton, Company Secretary and General Counsel of Booker Group plc; Emmanuel Roman, Chief Executive, Man; Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust; Maggie Fergusson, writer and Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature; Basil Comely, BBC TV; Derek Johns, Non-executive Chairman, Granta; Peter Kemp, Chief Fiction Reviewer, The Sunday Times; James Daunt,  Managing Director of Waterstones; Nigel Newton, publisher; Fiammetta Rocco, literary editor, The Economist (Man Booker International Prize Administrator); Eve Smith (Company Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation); and Robert Topping; Topping & Company Booksellers.


  • The Booker Prize Foundation is a registered charity (no 1090049) which, since 2002, has been responsible for the award of the prize. The trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation are former Chairman of Booker plc, Jonathan Taylor CBE (Chair); Lord Baker of Dorking CH; writer, critic and broadcaster, Bidisha; playwright and President of the Royal Literary Fund, Sir Ronald Harwood CBE; former Chair of the British Council and Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford, Baroness Kennedy QC; Professor of Creative Writing, Royal Holloway College University of London and former Poet Laureate, Sir Andrew Motion; broadcaster, James Naughtie; biographer, Victoria Glendinning CBE and former Finance Director of Rentokil plc, Christopher Pearce. Martyn Goff CBE, former Man Booker Prize administrator, is President of the Foundation and Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne and Baroness Neuberger are Vice Presidents.  


  • Man is a leading alternative investment management business with a diverse offering in hedge funds and long only products across equity, credit, managed futures, convertibles, emerging markets, global macro and multi-manager solutions. At 30 June 2014, Man managed $ 57.7 billion.


The original business was founded in 1783. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index with a market capitalisation of around £ 2.2 billion. Man also supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world, including sponsorship of the Man Booker literary prizes. Further information can be found at


  • Booker is the UK's leading food wholesaler with over 170 branches nationwide.  It serves over 350,000 independent businesses


  • The Booker Prize Foundation has a longstanding partnership with the RNIB, and the Foundation funds the production by RNIB of the shortlist in formats for the visually impaired including braille, giant print and Talking Books


  • The Booker Prize Archive was given on loan in 2003 to Oxford Brookes University where it now resides