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Man Booker Prize announces 2015 shortlist

Man Booker Prize announces 2015 shortlist

Man Booker Prize announces 2015 shortlist



  • First Jamaican-born author to be shortlisted
  • One former nominee, Tom McCarthy, makes list
  • Judges praise diversity of shortlist which includes one debut writer and a wide cultural heritage


Marlon James, Tom McCarthy, Chigozie Obioma, Sunjeev Sahota, Anne Tyler and Hanya Yanagihara are today, Tuesday 15 September, announced as the shortlisted authors for the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

The six names were announced by Chair of judges, Michael Wood, at a press conference at the offices of sponsor Man Group.

The judges remarked on the variety of writing styles, cultural heritage and literary backgrounds of the writers on the shortlist, which includes new authors alongside established names. Two authors come from the United Kingdom, two from the United States and one apiece from Jamaica and Nigeria.

This is the second year that the prize, first awarded in 1969, has been open to writers of any nationality, writing originally in English and published in the UK. Previously, the prize was open only to authors from the UK & Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.


2015 Man Booker Shortlist

The 2015 shortlist of six novels is:

Author (nationality)                      Title (imprint)

Marlon James (Jamaica)                A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld Publications)

Tom McCarthy (UK)                       Satin Island (Jonathan Cape)

Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria)              The Fishermen (ONE, Pushkin Press)

Sunjeev Sahota (UK)                     The Year of the Runaways (Picador)

Anne Tyler (US)                             A Spool of Blue Thread (Chatto & Windus)

Hanya Yanagihara (US)                  A Little Life (Picador)


Michael Wood comments:

‘Only on rare occasions does celebration come so closely aligned with regret. The regret of what we left out was tempered by the enormous excitement we have in presenting the six books on the shortlist.

‘We re-read all 13 books on the longlist and in the process we rediscovered new pleasures in each. The writers on the shortlist present an extraordinary range of approaches to fiction. They come from very different cultures and are themselves at very different stages of their careers.’


Tom McCarthy is the only shortlisted author to have been nominated before, having been shortlisted for C in 2010.

Marlon James is the first Jamaican-born author to be shortlisted for the prize. Chigozie Obioma is the third Nigerian to be nominated, after Ben Okri and Chinua Achebe. Of the six authors, two are resident in the UK and four in the United States.

At 28, Chigozie Obioma is the youngest of this year’s shortlisted authors, the same age as 2013 winner Eleanor Catton.

Two independent publishers make it to the shortlist: Oneworld Publications and ONE, an imprint of Pushkin Press. Penguin Random House have two authors on the list (from their Jonathan Cape and Chatto & Windus imprints), as does Picador, an imprint of Pan Macmillan.


Michael Wood is joined on the 2015 panel of judges by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, John Burnside, Sam Leith and Frances Osborne. The judges considered 156 books for this year’s 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 of all nationalities writing in English. 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 2015 winner announcement

The 2015 winner will be announced on Tuesday 13 October in London’s Guildhall at a black-tie dinner that brings together the shortlisted authors and well-known figures from the literary world. The ceremony will be broadcast by the BBC.

In the meantime, there will be a number of public events featuring the shortlisted authors, including the Radio Times Festival (Sunday 27 September), Birmingham Literature Festival (Thursday 8 October) and two events at The Times & The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival (Saturday 10 September).

The traditional Man Booker Prize Readings will take place at the Southbank Centre on the eve of the prize, 12 October, hosted by Mariella Frostrup.

There will be two further events with the winning author: at Stylist LIVE on 15 October and at Apple’s Covent Garden store on 16 October.

A special Man Booker Prize edition of Artsnight will air on BBC Two on Friday 9 October.

The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. The winner will receive a further £50,000 and can expect international recognition.


Winning the Man Booker Prize

From longlist stage onwards, the ‘Man Booker Dozen’ receives widespread interest from the media, booksellers and the public, in the form of critical engagement, media coverage and escalated book sales.

Last year’s winning novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan, has sold 300,000 copies in the UK and almost 800,000 worldwide.

Following her second win in 2012, Hilary Mantel topped the UK Nielsen BookScan chart with the sales of Bring up the Bodies, her sequel to Wolf Hall which won in 2009. Sales of her winning novels together exceeded a million copies in their UK editions. The BBC’s television adaptation and the theatre adaptations by the Royal Shakespeare Company of both novels have been widely praised.

Other winning novels have gone on to have second or third lives as stage and screen adaptations;  examples include Schindler’s Ark (directed by Steven Spielberg as Schindler’s List), The Remains of the Day and The English Patient.


The leading prize for quality fiction in English

First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognised as the leading prize for high quality literary fiction written in English. Its list of winners features many of the giants of the last four decades: from Salman Rushdie to Hilary Mantel, Iris Murdoch to Ian McEwan.

Man Group has sponsored the prize since 2002. One of the world’s largest independent alternative investment managers, Man Group was recognised as a partner who mirrored the quality, integrity and longevity of the Booker Prize.

To hear the most up-to-date news on this year’s prize, listen to the Man Booker Prize Podcast series, watch the Man Booker Prize vloggers on YouTube, or learn more about the prize’s history and share your thoughts online, visit:



For all press enquiries please contact:

Katy MacMillan-Scott or Hannah McMillan at Four Colman Getty

020 3697 4253/ 07786 567887 (Katy)

020 3697 4260 / 07971 086649 (Hannah)



A Brief History of Seven Killings

By Marlon James

Published by Oneworld Publications (£18.99)

On 3 December 1976, just weeks before the general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica concert to ease political tensions, seven men from West Kingston stormed his house with machine guns. Marley survived and went on to perform at the free concert. But the next day he left the country and didn’t return for two years. Inspired by this near-mythic event, A Brief History of Seven Killings takes the form of an imagined oral biography, told by ghosts, witnesses, killers, members of parliament, drug dealers, conmen, beauty queens, FBI and CIA agents, journalists, and even Keith Richards' drug dealer. The story traverses strange landscapes and shady characters, as motivations are examined – and questions asked.

Marlon James, 44, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1970. Marlon’s first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. His second novel, The Book of Night Women, won the 2010 Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award. James’ writing has appeared in EsquireGrantaPublisher’s Weekly and The Caribbean Review of Books. James currently lives in Minneapolis, USA.


For further information, please contact Lamorna Elmer at Oneworld Publications

Tel: 0207 307 8909, email:


Satin Island

By Tom McCarthy (UK)            

Published by Jonathan Cape (£16.99)

Set in contemporary London, Satin Island is a work reflecting disjointed times. A story about U. - a ‘corporate anthropologist’ working for an elite consultancy.  U.’s employers have set him two tasks. First, he must assist in the launching of a great, epoch-defining project which no one, least of all its own architects, fully understands. Second, he has been asked to compose the seemingly impossible: the Great Report – an ethnographic document to sum up our age. Instead, procrastinating, U. grows obsessed with the images with which the world bombards him on a daily basis: oil spills, African traffic jams, roller-blade processions, zombie parades. Is there a secret logic holding all these things together – a codex that, once cracked, will unlock the master-meaning of our times? Might it have something to do with South Pacific Cargo Cults, or the dead parachutists in the news? Perhaps; perhaps not.

Tom McCarthy, 46, was born in 1969 and grew up in London, UK. His creation, in 1999, of the International Necronautical Society (INS), a ‘semi-fictitious organisation’ that combines literature, art and philosophy, has led to publications, installations and exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world, from Tate Britain and the ICA in London to Moderna Museet in Stockholm and The Drawing Center in New York. McCarthy regularly writes on literature and art for publications including The New York TimesThe London Review of Books and Artforum. His books include Remainder (2006), Men in Space (2007), and C (2010), which was shortlisted for that year’s Man Booker Prize. McCarthy currently lives in London.


For further information, please contact Maria Garbutt-Lucero at Jonathan Cape

Tel: 0207 840 8563, email:



The Fishermen

By Chigozie Obioma

Published by ONE, Pushkin Press (£14.99)

The Fishermen is set in a small town in Nigeria in the mid-1990s. Four brothers, the youngest of whom is nine, use their strict father's absence from home to go fishing in a forbidden river and encounter a dangerous local madman, Abulu, whose mystic prophecy of violence threatens the very core of their close-knit family. He predicts that one of the brothers – a fisherman – will kill another. This evil prophecy of violence causes a deep rift between the brothers and starts to break the deep fraternal bonds, unleashing a tragic chain of events. Told by shy nine-year-old Benjamin, The Fishermen combines classic African storytelling with contemporary fiction, and illuminates Nigeria in all its historical, political and cultural complexity.

Chigozie Obioma, 28, was born in 1986 in Akure, Nigeria. His short stories have appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review and New Madrid. He was a Fall 2012 OMI Fellow at Ledig House, New York. He has lived in Nigeria, Cyprus and Turkey, and currently resides in the United States, where he has completed an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan and is now assistant professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Fishermen is his first novel.


For further information, please contact Katherine Stroud at ONE, Pushkin Press

Tel: 07780 112 964, email:



The Year of the Runaways

By Sunjeev Sahota

Published by Picador (£9.99)

13 young men live in a house in Sheffield, each in flight from India and in desperate search of a new life. Tarlochan, a former rickshaw driver, will say nothing about his past in Bihar; and Avtar has a secret that binds him to protect the chaotic Randeep. Randeep, in turn, has a visa-wife in a flat on the other side of town: a clever, devout woman whose cupboards are full of her husband's clothes, in case the immigration men surprise her with a call. Sweeping between India and England, and between childhood and the present day The Year of the Runaways is a story of an unlikely family thrown together by circumstance.

Sunjeev Sahota, 34, was born in 1981 in Derbyshire, UK. His debut novel, Ours are the Streets, was called 'nothing short of extraordinary', Observer; 'a moral work of real intelligence and power', The Times. Sahota is a Granta Best of British Novelist 2013. Sahota currently lives in Sheffield, UK.


For further information, please contact Emma Bravo at Picador, Pan Macmillan

Tel: 0207 014 6184 / 07739334561, email:



A Spool of Blue Thread

By Anne Tyler                              

Published by Chatto & Windus (£18.99)

‘It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…’ This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that day in July 1959. The whole family on the porch, relaxed, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different. Abby and Red are getting older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them and their beloved family home. They’ve all come, even Denny, who can usually be relied on only to please himself. From that porch we spool back through three generations of the Whitshanks, witnessing the events, secrets and unguarded moments that have come to define who and what they are. And while all families like to believe they are special, round that kitchen table over all those years we see played out the hopes and fears, the rivalries and tensions of families everywhere – the essential nature of family life.

Anne Tyler, 73, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated from Duke University and Columbia University, New York and worked as a librarian and bibliographer before moving to Maryland. She published her first book, If Morning Ever Comes, in 1964 and since then a new book has appeared every few years.  Tyler’s ninth novel, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1983. The Accidental Tourist was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1985, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 and was made into a film starring William Hurt and Geena Davis. Breathing Lessons won the Pulitzer Prize in 1989. Ladder of Years was shortlisted for the inaugural Orange Prize for Fiction in 1996, and Digging for America was shortlisted for the same prize in 2007. Tyler currently lives in Baltimore, USA.


For further information, please contact Louise Court at Chatto & Windus

Tel: 0207 840 8682, email:


A Little Life

By Hanya Yanagihara

Published by Picador (£16.99)

A Little Life is a depiction of heartbreak, and a dark examination of the tyranny of memory and the limits of human endurance. When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realise, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he'll not only be unable to overcome - but that will define his life forever.

Hanya Yanagihara, 41, was born in Los Angeles, California, USA, in 1975. Yanagihara is the author of The People in the Trees, shortlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and A Little Life. She is deputy editor at T: The New York Times Style Magazine and lives in New York City.


For further information, please contact Kate Green at Picador

Tel: 020 7014  6369, email:   


Notes to Editors


  • The 2015 longlist, or ‘Man Booker Dozen’, consisted of 13 books:


  1. Bill Clegg (US): Did You Ever Have a Family (Jonathan Cape)  
  2. Anne Enright (Ireland): The Green Road (Jonathan Cape)
  3. Marlon James (Jamaica): A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld Publications)
  4. Laila Lalami (US): The Moor's Account (Periscope, Garnet Publishing)
  5. Tom McCarthy (UK): Satin Island (Jonathan Cape)
  6. Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria): The Fishermen (ONE, Pushkin Press)
  7. Andrew O’Hagan (UK): The Illuminations (Faber & Faber)
  8. Marilynne Robinson (US): Lila (Virago)                
  9. Anuradha Roy (India): Sleeping on Jupiter (MacLehose Press, Quercus)
  10. Sunjeev Sahota (UK): The Year of the Runaways (Picador)
  11. Anna Smaill (New Zealand): The Chimes (Sceptre)
  12. Anne Tyler (US): A Spool of Blue Thread (Chatto & Windus)
  13. Hanya Yanagihara (US): A Little Life (Picador)


  • UK publishers may submit novels written in English and published in the UK between 1 October 2014 and 30 September 2015. 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 that 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


  • Four Colman Getty handles PR and event management for the prize and provides all events and administrative back-up


  • The prize was first awarded in 1969 and has been sponsored by 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 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: Richard Cable – publisher, Random House; Mark Chilton –  Company Secretary and General Counsel of Booker Group plc; Basil Comely – BBC TV; James Daunt – Managing Director of Waterstones; Jonathan Douglas – Director of the National Literacy Trust; Maggie Fergusson – writer and Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature; Derek Johns – Non-executive Chairman, Granta; Peter Kemp – Chief Fiction Reviewer, The Sunday Times; Nigel Newton – publisher, Bloomsbury; Fiammetta Rocco – Books and Arts Editor, The Economist (Man Booker International Prize Administrator); Emmanuel Roman – Chief Executive Officer, Man Group; Eve Smith – 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: Jonathan Taylor CBE – Chair, former Chairman of Booker plc; Lord Baker of Dorking CH; Bidisha – writer, critic and broadcaster; Victoria Glendinning CBE – biographer; Baroness Kennedy QC – former Chair of the British Council and Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford; James Naughtie – broadcaster; Christopher Pearce - former Finance Director of Rentokil plc; Dr Louise Richardson - Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of St Andrews. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, Sir Ronald Harwood and Baroness Neuberger are Vice Presidents of the Foundation 


  • The Trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation have appointed Gaby Wood as the next Literary Director of the Foundation. She succeeds Ion Trewin, who died earlier this year in April.  Gaby will take over full responsibility for the Man Booker Prize at the conclusion of this year’s prize. The literary direction of the 2015 prize will in the interim be handled by Fiammetta Rocco, Administrator of the Man Booker International Prize and Books and Arts Editor of The Economist


  • Man Group has sponsored the Man Booker Prize since 2002. A leading alternative investment management firm founded in 1783, Man Group was recognised as a partner who mirrored the quality, integrity and longevity of the Booker Prize. The prize underscores Man Group's charitable focus on literacy and education as well as the firm’s commitment to excellence and entrepreneurship. Together with the wider charitable activities of the Booker Prize Foundation, the prize plays a very important role in promoting literary excellence on a global scale that the firm is honoured to support.


  • Man Group is one of the world’s largest independent alternative investment managers, and a leader in high-alpha, liquid investment strategies. Across its four investment managers (Man AHL, Man FRM, Man GLG and Man Numeric), Man Group has a diverse offering in hedge funds and long only products spanning equity, credit, managed futures, convertibles, emerging markets and multi-manager solutions. At 30 June 2015, Man Group’s funds under management were $78.8 billion. The original business was founded in 1783. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker EMG.L and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. Man Group 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 RNIB. The Foundation funds the production of the shortlisted titles in braille, giant print and audio, which the sight loss charity produce by the date the winner is announced. The accessible versions are then made available to the tens of thousands of blind and partially sighted members of the RNIB Library. People with sight loss face a significantly limited choice of books in accessible formats and often have to wait much longer than their sighted peers for titles to be made available to them – and there are many more books that they will never have the chance to read. The Foundation is working with RNIB to change this story. For further information contact the RNIB Communications Team on 0207 391 2223 or


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


Four Colman Getty

September 2015