Arundhati Roy leads Man Booker prize longlist

Former winner joins cast of 'literary titans' fighting for prestigious award

Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy speaks at a protest rally in New Delhi
(Image credit: Raveendran/AFP/GettyImages)

Arundhati Roy has been longlisted for the Man Booker prize, 20 years after she first won Britain's most prestigious book award.

She joins previous contenders including Zadie Smith, Sebastian Barry and Ali Smith and Mohsin Hamid on the 13-book longlist.

Baroness Lola Young, chairwoman of the judging panel, said the competition featured works of "huge energy, imagination and variety" showing a "diverse spectrum" of voices, styles and protagonists from various cultures, ages and genders.

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This year's lists is "thronged with literary titans", whose "combined trophy cabinet" includes the Pulitzer, Costa, Baileys, Folio, Impact and the Goldsmiths prizes, says Alison Flood in The Guardian.

Judges praised Roy's second piece of fiction, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, as a "rich and vital" book, while Ali Smith, says Flood, was chosen for her "humane, zany, delightful, optimistic" post-EU referendum novel Autumn.

Zadie Smith, meanwhile, is nominated for Swing Time, a story of friendship and rivalry between two London girls who meet at a dance class.

Barry's Costa-winning Days Without End tells the story of a young man who flees the Irish famine of the 1840s to become a soldier in America's Civil War, a far cry from Mohsin Hamid's Exit West, a love story set in a world where refugees use wormholes to travel from city to city.

Two other books on the list have also won literary prizes. Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad, called "stunningly daring" by the New York Times, was awarded a Pulitzer and Mike McCormack's one-sentence novel Solar Bones, credited by the New Statesman as "reviving Irish modernism", snapped up the Goldsmiths last year.

However, the list also involves a number of snubs and disappointments, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Fans of John Le Carre who hoped to see the writer listed for the first time for A Legacy of Spies "will be downcast". Also overlooked are Will Self for Phone and Salman Rushdie for his Trump satire The Golden House.

A shortlist of six finalists will be unveiled on 13 September and the overall winner of the £50,000 prize will be announced on 17 October.

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