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Man Booker Prize 2007: McEwan leads longlist

Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach

Story by Jack Foley

AUTHOR Ian McEwan heads the longlist for the Man Booker Prize, a decade after he won the award.

McEwan was nominated for his novel On Chesil Beach, a tragic love story set in the 1960s that has won widespread critical acclaim.

It is the fourth time the author has made the shortlist and he won the coveted title in 1998 for Amsterdam.

However, he’s sure to face tough competition even though the longlist is dominated by Booker newcomers – of the 13 contenders, only McEwan has previously been shortlisted in the past.

Writers such as AN Wilson, Lloyd Jones, Nicola Barker and Anne Enright are also among the favourites to land the £50,000 book of the year prize when it is announced in October.

The longlist – fully named the Man Booker Dozen – was whittled down from 110 entries from across the UK, Ireland and the Commonwealth.

Commenting on the standard of entries this year, Howard Davies, chairman of judges, told the BBC: “All the books chosen are well-crafted and will appeal to a wide readership.”

Of the other favourites, Lloyd Jones is nominated for Mister Pip, which has already won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Overall Best Book Award 2007 for the New Zealander.

While Nicola Barker’s fourth book, Darkmans, makes the longlist three years after she reached the same stage with Clear: A Transparent Novel.

Four first-time novelists are also included on the list – Tan Twan Eng, Peter Ho Davies, Catherine O’Flynn and Nikita Lalwani.

While some of the novels reflect contemporary concerns, with Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist recalling the story of a Pakistani man in the US who finds himself radicalised after the events of 9/11.

And Indra Sinha, who set up a clinic in 1996 to help survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster, is nominated for Animal’s Poeple, his fictionalised account of one of the survivors.

The winner will be announced at London’s Guildhall on October 16.

Last year’s winner was Kiran Desai for his novel The Inheritance of Loss.

The 2007 longlist is:
Nicola Barker – Darkmans
Edward Docx – Self Help
Tan Twan Eng – The Gift Of Rain
Anne Enright – The Gathering
Mohsin Hamid – The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Peter Ho Davies – The Welsh Girl
Lloyd Jones – Mister Pip
Nikita Lalwani – Gifted
Ian McEwan – On Chesil Beach
Catherine O’Flynn – What Was Lost
Michael Redhill – Consolation
Indra Sinha – Animal’s People
AN Wilson – Winnie & Wolf