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.