Literary heavyweights dominate Booker longlist

Sarah Crown in The Guardian:

Somewhere out there, 17 authors are having an extremely good day. This year’s Booker judges eschewed the tendency of panels of recent years to run to 20 or even 30 authors, and instead kept numbers tight on a longlist that is stuffed to bursting with literary heavyweights.

On a list lacking any great surprises, shoo-ins such as Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro, both previous winners, whose novels Saturday and Never Let Me Go were hotly tipped as Booker contenders from the moment of their publication – were joined by two-time Booker-winner and 2003 Nobel laureate JM Coetzee. Salman Rushdie, who has also picked up the £50,000 cheque once before, in 1981 for Midnight’s Children, made the list for his as-yet-unpublished Shalimar the Clown. Zadie Smith also features with an unpublished novel; her third book, On Beauty, is due out in early September.

Other big names include Julian Barnes, Hilary Mantel and Ali Smith, while of the three first novels on the list, the most high profile is Marina Lewycka’s A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, which was shortlisted for this year’s Orange Prize for Fiction. The longlist was chosen from 109 entries.

More here.