Literary history may be made when the winner of the UK’s Man Booker award is announced at a ceremony in London tomorrow night beginning at 8 p. (3 pm, Eastern). For the first time, two US authors are on the shortlist, Paul Beatty for The Sellout (Macmillan/FSG, OverDrive Sample), which received awards and was on many best books lists when it was published here last year, and Ottessa Moshfegh for her debut, Eileen (PRH/Penguin; OverDrive Sample).
Most consider the field wide open, but in the UK, where it’s legal to do such things, bets are on Canadian Medeleine Thien for Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Norton; OverDrive Sample). Recently published here, the daily NYT reviewed it warmly this week, calling it “a beautiful, sorrowful work.” That followed an equally warm review earlier in the NYT Sunday Review.
Coming is third is His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the Case of Roderick Macrae, by Scotsman Graeme MaCrae Burnet (Skyhorse; OverDrive Sample). As we wrote earlier, its selection for the longlist was a major surprise, both because it is a crime novel, a genre that has not received recognition from the Booker judges before, and because it is from the tiny two-person Scottish press, Saraband. In the US, it was recently released by a much larger small press, Skyhorse.
Beatty comes in fourth and Ottessa Mosfeght is last, but the punters rarely predict winners for literary awards. The only thing that can be said for certain is that someone’s literary reputation will be made tomorrow.