Penelope Lively’s ‘Moon Tiger’ shortlisted for the Golden Man Booker

Golden Man Booker

Penguin General author Penelope Lively's modern classic Moon Tiger has been shortlisted for the Golden Man Booker Prize, the one-off prize to the mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Booker Prize Foundation.

Celebrating the best winners since The Booker Prize was first awarded in 1969, the shortlist is made up of one novel from each decade of the prize - with one judge choosing a title from each of the past five decades to champion. Moon Tiger was chosen by acclaimed poet Lemn Sissay MBE to represent the 1980s, ahead of a competitive field of landmark titles from the likes of Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro and J.M. Coetzee. 

Moon Tiger is the tale of a historian confronting her personal history, unearthing the passions and pains that have defined her life. Claudia Hampton, a beautiful, famous writer, lies dying in hospital.  But, as the nurses tend to her with quiet condescension, she is plotting her greatest work: 'a history of the world ... and in the process, my own'. Gradually she re-creates the rich mosaic of her life and times, conjuring up those she has known. Through an exquisite mesh of memories, flashbacks and shifting voices, this is a haunting story of loss and desire.

Penelope Lively said: "I am delighted that Moon Tiger is on this shortlist - a book written over thirty years ago so I feel now as though someone else wrote it, and I am sure she would be most surprised by all this!"

Penelope Lively is the author of many prize-winning novels and short-story collections for both adults and children. Moon Tiger won the 1987 Man Booker Prize, adding to the success of The Road to Lichfield and According to Mark, which werre both shortlisted for the Prize in 1977 and 1984 respectively. Penelope's children's novels have been recognised through winning both the Carnegie Medal (for The Ghost of Thomas Kempe in 1973) and the Whitbread Award (for A Stitch in Time in 1976).

Just a handful of Moon Tiger covers over recent years

Speaking of his decision to choose Moon Tiger to represent the 1980s, Lemn Sissay said "Lively’s ability to bring her character and the world she inhabits into full technicolour is beautiful. This is a unique book about a fascinating unpredictable woman way ahead of her time and yet absolutely of her time."

The 'Golden Five' shortlist was announced at Hay Festival on 26 May, with the five books now going into a month-long public vote from 26 May to 25 June on the Man Booker Prize website, with the winner announced at the Man Booker 50 Festival on 8 July 2018. As a part of the festival, Penelope will be appearing at the event ‘Sex, Love & Families’, alongside Anne Enright at 4.30pm on 7 July.

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