London: Twenty years after Arundhati Roy won the Man Booker prize for her debut novel “The God of Small Things”, the Kerala-born Indian author has been longlisted for the £50,000 award for her second, “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness,” reports The Guardian.
On a longlist thronged with literary titans, whose combined trophy cabinet would include the Pulitzer, the Costa, the Baileys, the Folio, the Impac and the Goldsmiths prizes, Roy – the only author to have won the Booker before – is listed for her novel about an Indian transgender woman, which judges called a “rich and vital book”.
Speaking about why it took her two decades to produce a second novel, Roy told the daily earlier this year that “fiction just takes its time. It’s no hurry. I can’t write it faster or slower than I have; it’s like you’re a sedimentary rock that’s just gathering all these layers, and swimming around.”
The Man Booker judging panel, picking from more than 150 titles, also went for four writers who have been shortlisted for the UK’s most prestigious literary prize before but not won it.
Ali Smith was chosen for the “humane, zany, delightful, optimistic” post-EU referendum novel Autumn; Zadie Smith was picked for her story of the friendship and rivalry between two London girls who meet at a dance class, Swing Time; Sebastian Barry is in the running with Days Without End, about an Irish man who migrates to the US in the lead-up to the civil war; and Mohsin Hamid for Exit West, a love story set in a world where refugees use wormholes to travel from city to city.
The Booker was opened up to US authors in 2014, with Paul Beatty the first American author to win, for The Sellout last year.
The 2017 Man Booker Prize longlist
- 4321 by Paul Auster (Faber & Faber)
- Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Faber & Faber)
- History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Orion Books)
- Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
- Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Canongate)
- Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (4th Estate, HarperCollins)
- Elmet by Fiona Mozley (JM Originals, John Murray)
- The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
- Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Bloomsbury)
- Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (Bloomsbury)
- Autumn by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
- Swing Time by Zadie Smith (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
- The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Fleet, Little, Brown)