Cityvisitor blog

Underdogs triumph in Booker shortlist

I love a good underdog story, who doesn’t?

I am also a big book fan and a frustrated novelist myself, so I was thrilled to read the announcement of the Booker Prize shortlist this year.

Three authors on the list really stood out – both first-time novelists and, you could say, unlikely candidates for this prestigious award in the writing world.

Fiona Mozley, 29, is the second youngest writer to make it onto the shortlist. She works part time in a book shop and is said to have written her novel on her phone whilst travelling to work.

Her novel, Elmet, is a lyrical commentary on contemporary English society and one family’s precarious place in it, as well as an exploration of how deep the bond between father and child can go.

Emily Fridlund, author of History of Wolves, and George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo, are also a debut novelists.

It really is great to see these people being given just as much credit for their work as established and well known authors.

The full shortlist is:

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster (US) (Faber & Faber)
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (US) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan-UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
Elmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) (JM Originals)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US) (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Autumn by Ali Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton)

Baroness Lola Young, chair of the judging panel, said when making the announcement: “Playful, sincere, unsettling, fierce: here is a group of novels grown from tradition but also radical and contemporary. The emotional, cultural, political and intellectual range of these books is remarkable, and the ways in which they challenge our thinking is a testament to the power of literature.”


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