We are delighted to announce that Ali Smith's Autumn and Mohsin Hamid's Exit West have both been shortlisted for this year's Man Booker Prize, after judges whittled the longlist of thirteen down to just six.
With both books being published by Penguin General imprint Hamish Hamilton, the two books also share the same editor - Simon Prosser. Two further Hamish Hamilton titles, Zadie Smith's Swing Time and Arundhati Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness also made the initial longlist, which was announced in July.
Completing the shortlist are Emily Fridlund's A History of Wolves, Fiona Mozley's Elmet, Paul Auster's 4321 and George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo.
Ali Smith, previously shortlisted for the Man Booker three times and winner of the Baileys prize for How to Be Both, is again shortlisted with her breathtakingly inventive new novel, Autumn.
Autumn introduces us to 101-year-old Daniel Gluck and 32-year-old Elisabeth Demand, exploring the history of their relationship in the wake of the results of the United Kingdom's Brexit referendum, with the nation "in pieces, divided by a historic once-in-a-generation summer." In the first volume of Seasonal, a wide-ranging four-part series exploring "what time is, how we experience it", Smith drops us at our most recent historical turning point, in a story about ageing and time and love and stories themselves.
Speaking of her nomination, Ali simply said "I'm so delighted!"
Mohsin Hamid also makes the shortlist for the second time, having been shortlisted for The Reluctant Fundamentalist ten years ago in 2007.
In an extraordinary story of love and hope, Exit West follows Nadia and Saeed - two ordinary young people, attempting to do an extraordinary thing - to fall in love - in a world turned upside down. Also set in the present day, the novel explores how we live now and how we might live tomorrow; of a world in crisis and two human beings travelling through it.
Upon finding out that he had been nominated, Mohsin commented: "I'm thrilled. I know from my own experience how much being shortlisted can do to help a book find readers.
Speaking of the nominations, editor Simon Prosser said, "I’m thrilled for Ali and for Mohsin, and for Hamish Hamilton and Penguin General. But I’m also thrilled for the ideas and convictions which animate both Autumn and Exit West, and which they so powerfully articulate: the belief in migration as a human right; the distrust of false borders and walls; and their shared faith in humanity’s potential for kindness and tolerance, even when - indeed especially when - the shadows loom. For both writers story-telling is a way - perhaps the only way - of making sense of the times we live in, and their words are a kind of life-force. In a sense the two novels are in conversation with each other, as well as with their many readers. And to have both on the Man Booker shortlist makes me very happy."
Penguin General Managing Director Joanna Prior added: "Everyone at Penguin General Books is delighted by the news that two such wonderful novels published by Hamish Hamilton have made it through to the Man Booker shortlist this year. Both Ali Smith and Mohsin Hamid have been shortlisted before and so we know what an opportunity this is for us to reach more readers for these superb and important writers. They are both powerful and original storytellers and their books have the capacity both to move and to change us. We are proud to publish them."
This year's prize is judged by Baroness Lola Young (Chair); literary critic Lila Azam Zanganeh; Man Booker Prize shortlisted novelist Sarah Hall; artist Tom Phillips CBE RA; and travel writer, Colin Thubron CBE, with the shortlist announced this morning on Wednesday 13 September at a press conference at the London offices of Man Group.
The shortlisted authors will now take part in events in Nottingham, London and Cheltenham, before coming together on the eve of this year's announcement for an evening of readings and conversation at The Southbank Centre on Monday 16 October.
The 2017 winner will then be announced on Tuesday 17 October in London’s Guildhall at a black-tie dinner, one of the highlights of the publishing year. The ceremony will once again be broadcast by the BBC.
The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, first awarded in 1969, is open to writers of any nationality, writing originally in English and published in the UK. Recent Penguin Random House UK winners include Richard Flanagan's Narrow Road to the Deep North (2014), Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending (2011) and Anne Enright's The Gathering (2007). In addition, 2015 winner Marlon James recently announced a new, dazzlingly ambitious trilogy which will also be published by Hamish Hamilton.
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