Man Booker shortlist 2011

The shortlist for the Booker Prize has been announced, and here it is:

  • Juiian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
  • Carol Birch, Jamrach’s Menagerie
  • Patrick deWitt, The Sisters Brothers
  • Esi Edugyan, Half Blood Blues
  • Stephen Kelman, Pigeon English
  • A.D. Miller, Snowdrops

I still haven’t read any of these books myself, and so can’t add much more to my original thoughts on the longlist. But I will share my thoughts on hearing the shortlist.

Overall, I find this year’s Man Booker shortlist surprising and interesting. The Barnes sounded a typical ‘Booker novel’, and it’s no surprise to me to see it here; the same goes for Pigeon English, which seems to have been featured and talked about all over the place this year. I couldn’t make a call on the Edugyan, but the other three shortlisted titles certainly sounded less obviously ‘literary’ (I appreciate I’m making crude judgements here) than I would traditionally associate with the Booker.

Though I may be surprised with the shortlist, I’m also pleased, as I think it makes for rather a diverse selection of books. Also, three of the four books I named in my longlist post as those I most wanted to read have made it on to the shortlist, so I may well read at least some of the shortlist before the announcement of the winner on 18th October (any reviews will, as ever, be linked in the list above).

Congratulations to all six nominees; I wonder who will win.


  1. Hi David, I haven’t read any of them either, but I note that 3 of them which I think you describe as literary, could equally be described as historical fiction. I’m not sure what that says if anything, but I like my literary fiction not to be tied in with specific real life historical characters, or a specific historical time and place.

  2. David Hebblethwaite

    10th September 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Marc, when I used the word ‘literary’ in this post, I wasn’t talking about what I thought of the books personally so much as whether they fit a crude stereotype in my mind of what makes a typical ‘Booker novel’. The only one that did was the Julian Barnes (which, from what I’ve heard about it, I wouldn’t class as historical fiction).

    You have got me thinking, though, about whether my stereotype of the ‘Booker novel’ would include historical as well as contemporary fiction. Hmm…

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