London: For the first time in recent years, no Indian writer figures in the long-list for the 2009 Man Booker prize this year.
The noted writer J.M. Coetzee, who won the prestigious prize in 1983 and 1999, is in the running again for his book, Summertime.
The long-list for the leading literary award in the English-speaking world announced on Tuesday includes 13 books.
Last year’s winner was Indian writer Aravind Adiga, who got the prize for his book The White Tiger.
Coetzee, the reclusive South African author, is the bookies’ favourite to win an unprecedented third Man Booker award for Summertime, following his previous success with Life & Times of Michael K (1983) and Disgrace (1999).
His latest work, which is yet to be published, is described as a “creative memoir” charting a young biographer’s attempts to piece together the life of a dead novelist.
Other entries in the long-list are A.S. Byatt for The Children’s Book, Adam Foulds for The Quickening Maze, Sarah Hall for How to Paint a Dead Man, Samantha Harvey for The Wilderness, and James Lever for his book Me Cheeta.
Hilary Mantel for his book Wolf Hall, Simon Mawer for The Glass Room, Ed O’Loughlin - Not Untrue & Not Unkind, James Scudamore - Heliopolis; Colm Toibin - Brooklyn, William Trevor - Love and Summer and Sarah Waters for The Little Stranger have also made it to the long list.
The chair of judges, James Naughtie, said, “The five Man Booker judges have settled on 13 novels as the long-list for this year’s prize. We believe it to be one of the strongest lists in recent memory, with two former winners, four past-shortlisted writers, three first-time novelists and a span of styles and themes that make this an outstandingly rich fictional mix.
“We considered more than 130 novels (including the work of nine former winners) and found ourselves travelling in a fertile landscape. We kept discovering new talent as well as reacquainting ourselves with familiar writers, and emerged with a feeling that we were part of an exceptional year,” he said.
Naughtie said this was an eclectic list, “taking us from the court of Henry VIII to the Hollywood jungle, with stops along the way in a nineteenth century Essex asylum, an African warzone and a futuristic Brazilian city among other places”.
The 2009 shortlist will be announced on 8 September and the winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2009 will be revealed on 6 October.
Besides Naughtie, the 2009 judges are biographer and critic Lucasta Miller, The Sunday Telegraph’s literary editor Michael Prodger, Academic and journalist professor John Mullan and comedian and journalist Sue Perkins.