The Man Booker Prize judges have announced the 2017 shortlist of six titles.
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) (Hamish Hamilton)
Elmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) (JM Originals)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US) (Bloomsbury)
Autumn by Ali Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
The judges said the novels, each in its own way, challenged and subtly shifted the reader’s preconceptions about the nature of love, about the experience of time, about questions of identity and even death.
The shortlist, which features three women and three men, covers a range of subjects, from the struggle of a family trying to retain its self-sufficiency in rural England to a love story between two refugees seeking to flee an unnamed city in the throes of civil war.
Until 2014 only British and Commonwealth writers were eligible for the prize, but then it was opened to any author writing in English. Last year the prize was won by an American – Paul Beatty – for the first time, and this year there are three American writers on the shortlist.
Only one Commonwealth writer has made this year’s shortlist, Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid.
Baroness Young, chair of the 2017 panel of judges, said: “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.”
It is the fourth time Ali Smith has made the shortlist and the second time for Hamid. At 29 Mozley is the youngest writer on the list, and Auster, at 70, is the oldest.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony in London’s Guildhall on October 17. – Vivien Horler