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2016 Man Booker Longlist Predictions

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The 2016 Man Booker Longlist will be released on July 27. This year, we will be hosting our own panel of judges for the Man Booker nominees. Book Worm and I along with our three contributors (see our about page) will be reading and reviewing the Man Booker longlist books. At each stage of the award (longlist, shortlist, and winner announcement) we will be making our predictions. We’ll also be reading and reviewing all the books as a panel so stay tuned for regular Man Booker reviews. Keep reading to find out which books we are predicting will make the longlist this year. Scroll to the bottom to vote for who you think has the best predictions list.

In order for books to be eligible for the 2016 Man Booker lists, it must the following criteria:

  • Any novel in print or electronic format, written originally in English and published in the UK by an imprint formally established in the UK . The imprint must publish a list of at least two literary fiction novels by different authors each year.
  • The novel must be published in the UK between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016. If it has previously been published outside the UK it will only be eligible if the original date of publication outside the UK is within the previous two years, ie not earlier than 1 October 2013.
  • No English translation of a novel written originally in any other language is eligible.
  • The author of the novel must be living at the time it is submitted or called in.

Each of us made our list of predictions. We could each make up to 13 picks although not everyone chose to pick all 13. Only one book made all of our lists and there were very few overlaps across lists. Here are are predictions:

Jen’s Predictions: Last year I predicted a few, but not many, of the books that made it onto the Man Booker longlist (although we both predicted the winner). I don’t expect to do any better this year. My list is populated by a few books I loved, a few books getting buzz for other awards, and my best guesses based on the types of authors and books they generally nominate. I’ll consider it a success if I get at least two correct.

  1. The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra: By far my favorite book of 2016.
  2. The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes: Judges love him. He’s had 3 books shortlisted & won the prize in 2011
  3. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout: award winning author has yet to be nominated for Man Booker. Maybe this year?
  4. The Sellout by Paul Beatty: This book is getting a lot of critical acclaim.
  5. The Nix by Nathan Hill: I saw the author speak at BEA. His book is getting a lot of early buzz (it comes out in the fall). To me it sounds like the sort of book that will be nominated.
  6. LaRose by Louise Erdrich: No prior Man Booker nominations but has won multiple other awards for her books in the past.
  7. Barkskins by Annie Proulx. Never nominated for Man Booker but has had 6 books nominated for major awards and own 3 of them.
  8. Zero K by Don DeLillo: Judges love Delillo. His books have been nominated for 10 major awards but never the Man Booker
  9. The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain: Because her books always win awards, she’s been shortlisted for the Man Booker in the past, and I have enjoyed many of her books.
  10. The veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engels.
  11. Dirt Road by James Kelman: He’s won the Man Booker before and this sounds like the sort of book the judges will like
  12. What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera: Subject matter, setting, critical acclaim
  13. Selection Day by Aravind Adiga: He won the Man Booker in the past for White Tiger.

Book Worm’s predictions: I picked the first 5 because they are on my radar to read and they have been getting good press reviews and lots of buzz. I selected books 6-9 becasue they are long awaited new novels from popular award-winning authors. And I picked books 10 -12 because I have read them and think they are the types of books the judges will like.

  1. Zero K by Don Delillo
  2. Smoke by Dan Vyleta
  3. Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
  4. HomeGoing by Yaa Gyasi
  5. Mr Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt
  6. High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel
  7. Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
  8. At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier
  9. Barkskins by Annie Proulx
  10. The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild
  11. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
  12. Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton

Nicole’s Predictions:

  1. The Schooldays of Jesus by Coetzee: Because he’s a darling of the prize committees and justifiably so
  2. City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg- Because prize committees love that long pretentious stuff
  3. Barkskins – Because it’s Annie P.
  4. Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta: debut, title, subject matter, setting… all make me think this one will be a contender.
  5. Slade House by David Mitchell: It could be nominated, but I don’t think it deserves to be
  6. Jerusalem by Alan Moore: because it’s long, ambitious, and it’s by Alan Moore

Andrew’s predictions: Since this is my first stab at predicting book awards (and because I’m probably the least well-read of the other judges), most of my selections will be made solely on whether I have considered buying these books and on their short descriptions on various websites. Therefore, I will emerge victorious.

  1. The Tsar of Love and Techno, Anthony Marra: I actually read this one.  One of the best books I’ve read in the last 10 years.  Marra expertly weaves multiple storylines and characters through numerous disparate short stories.  Crushingly tragic, hilarious, and strangely uplifting, Tsar reminds us that even in the most desperate situations, there is always hope.  If this isn’t at least on the list then the Man Booker is a sham.  There, I said it.
  2. Why We Came to the City, Kristopher Jansma: When a review says a book “could be a meditation on mortality” it’s definitely award material.
  3. Alice and Oliver, Charles Bock: Bock’s wife recently passed away from cancer.  And then he wrote a book about a young family coming to grips with the fact that the mother has been diagnosed with cancer.  Which means it’s going to rip your heart out and be amazing.
  4. What Lies Between Us, Nayomi Munaweera: A story of immigrants fleeing a third world nation to escape horrors who then struggle to adjust in America.  Topical, trendy, and a guaranteed place on the Man Booker list.
  5. Barkskins, Annie Proulx: Selected mostly because she’s Annie Proulx. And she tends to write really good books that win things and are talked about a lot.

Kate’s Predictions: It’s hard for me to make any predictions because I’ve read so few of them. I’m currently reading  Fifteen Dogs and it is interesting so far, but we’ll see where it goes.  Slade House was good but I have to think that there has to be a more special book out there somewhere.  Underground Airlines intrigues me mostly because I love alternative history.  The Girls seems to be getting a lot of buzz at the moment.  I’m always on the look out for the international perspective so am looking forward to Under the Udala Tree and Homegoing.  I’m a sucker for a Shakespeare retelling hence the Shylock and  Vinegar GirlLaRose and My Name is Lucy Barton are based mainly on my respect for the authors. I will reiterate my distaste for both Zero K and the High Mountains of Portugal so I hope they don’t make the list.

  1. Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters
  2. The Girls by Emma Cline
  3. Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
  4. Shylock is My Name by Howard Jacobson
  5. Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis – reading now
  6. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
  7. LaRose by Louise Erdrich
  8. Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa
  9. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
  10. Slade House by David Mitchell – the only one I have read
  11. Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

So who do you think will get the most right? Vote in our poll below and let us know which books you think will be nominated.

19 Comments Post a comment
  1. dang it, I didn’t even think of Tzar of Love and Techno. I read The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and I don’t think it will make the list, but I could definitely be wrong.

    Dear God, spare us all High Mountains of Portugal.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 18, 2016
    • Ha ha! That makes three of us who feel the same about Martel. I didn’t read it. Life of PI was enough for me. I wish I had thought of the Coetzee book and I seriously considered Udala trees.


      July 18, 2016
    • I don’t know how I missed Tsar either! It was certainly one of my favorites of last year, I guess I thought it came out in 2015. i think it’s a strong contender for the prize.

      Liked by 1 person

      July 18, 2016
      • It came out Jan 2016. I have my fingers crossed for it. In keep pushing it on everyone


        July 18, 2016
  2. Interesting choices! Barnes and Strout are on my list too which I will be posting on my blog this weekend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    July 18, 2016
    • Come back and post the link to your predictions when you post them. Will be curious to see your choices


      July 18, 2016
  3. Highly doubt that Martel will make it – it seems a bit of a reprise of Life of Pi in some ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 19, 2016
    • I haven’t read it. I can’t bring myself to read it after disliking Life of PI.


      July 19, 2016
    • Can you link to your post here? I am out
      So only in my phone which makes it difficult but would like people to go check out your recent post too!


      July 19, 2016
  4. Doug #

    James Kelman has not won the Booker Prize previously.


    July 20, 2016
  5. Anita #

    I am very excited about this feature and can’t wait to see how many of these make the longlist. I fully expect to see My Name is Lucy Barton and Tsar of Love and Techno on there. The rest I have no idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 24, 2016
  6. Hey Jen – I think her name is “lucy” barton. 🙂


    July 25, 2016
    • wait, what did I write. Lol, I have to go check


      July 25, 2016
    • ugh, I fixed it. I’ve been calling it that everywhere despite knowing that it’s incorrect and trying to make a conscious effort to check each time. Well, at least this let me go in and fix the formatting issue too.


      July 25, 2016

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. A dearth of predictions for Booker Prize 2016 | BookerTalk
  2. Introducing the 2016 Man Booker Longlist | The Reader's Room

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