Shortlist announced for 2015 Man Booker Prize

The Man Booker Prize 2015 LogoThe Man Booker judges confounded us once again when they announced today the shortlisted titles for the 2015 Man Booker Prize. OK so the bookmakers favourite A Little Life was shortlisted but the hotly tipped Did You Ever Have a Family went out of the running as was one of the biggest names on the long list; Marilynne Robinson with Lila.

Which leaves us with these six titles:





Manbooker prize 2015





  • Marlon James (Jamaica) – A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld Publications)
  • Tom McCarthy (UK) – Satin Island (Jonathan Cape)
  • Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) – The Fishermen (ONE, Pushkin Press)
  • Sunjeev Sahota (UK) – The Year of the Runaways (Picador)
  • Anne Tyler (US) – A Spool of Blue Thread (Chatto & Windus)
  • Hanya Yanagihara (US) – A Little Life (Picador)

I can’t really judge which of these will be the likely one to giant ultimate prize since I’ve read only one – A Little Life (review posted here)I did find that extraordinary though not without its flaws. And I have The Fishermen lined up to read once I’ve finished another long listed title Did You Ever Have a Family.

What I like about this shortlist however is the mix of genres and countries represented. It helps mitigate the flak over the inclusion of American authors since last year.

I’d love to be a fly on the wall as the judges pontificate over the next few weeks before reaching their decision about the winner. An article in The Daily Telegraph today gives some insight into the behind the scenes tantrums of various winners from the past – may the judges are equally as temperamental?

About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on September 15, 2015, in Bookends, Man Booker Prize and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. I think it’s a very good shortlist – diversity, relevance, good gender mix, etc – but I’m drawn to very few of the books on it. I have read the Anne Tyler and enjoyed it very much, though I don’t think it’s her best book by a long way. The others I’ve read about now, thanks to the blogworld! But not sure how many I actually want to invest time in.

  2. I’m not very good at awards, actually, though I usually do end up reading the Booker winner. I don’t make an effort even to read the shortlist for Australia’s big award. I have no viewpoints on who should or shouldn’t be shortlisted (though I’m probably surprised that Anne Tyler beat Marilynne Robinson, albeit I have enjoyed many Anne Tyler novels). But I am always interested to see who wins.

    I loved the Daily Telegraph article. The first big Booker “to do” I recollect was in 1987 when Penelope Lively’s Moon tiger won. A lovely book, and one whose ending I still remember (take that Booker critics!). Some felt, as I recollect, it was too readable! However, I don’t remember the ending because it was readable, but because it was one of the most beautiful death scenes I’ve read. (I don’t think that’s a spoiler as the story is told by an old woman at the end of her life).

  3. Fairly devastated to find Did You Ever Have a Family did not make the shortlist. Was very impressed by it!

  4. I hope ‘The Fishermen’ wins! But I hear ‘A Little Life’ is a very strong contender… hmm. We’ll see! The characters of ‘The Fishermen’ deserve the win. *fingers crossed*

  5. Unlike previous years I don’t find myself reading the synopsis’s of these books and thinking “I MUST have that book!”, I think I am going to have to wait and read some reviews and see if any slowly warm to me.

  6. I haven’t read any of the list and I feel a bit underwhelmed by it. My book group intends to read the winner in November.

  7. I haven’t read any of the books but I have been following blogs of people who have and the list seems like is has nice variety and diversity this year. Even more exciting, Marlon James is a professor at a small college here in Minneapolis. As you can imagine his making the short list is getting lots of press!

  8. I haven’t read any of them. I’ve heard good things about the Tyler novel but it sounds a bit light for this heavyweight category.

    • I was surprised about the Tyler too and also the Enright. Not to say the Booker has to be heavyweight but I expect the selected titles to try new techniques where both these titles felt rather safe in their approaches.

  9. Mildly disappointed that Lila didn’t make it. It makes me suspicious. The Man Booker Prizes always ditch her (twice, I think, in the Man Booker International Prize before it became an award for works in translation).

    But yes, each shortlist is a celebration. This set is particularly hard to predict. I hope Marlon James or Tom McCarthy will win.

  10. I think it would be so fascinating to watch the debates about the books lists – any of them, really. I haven’t read any of these books, but having been following everyone else’s reviews, etc., I am also surprised not to see Clegg or Robinson on here. I would love to know all the reasons!

  11. I haven’t read any of them, but I did really like Tom McCarthy’s other novels so I kind of have my fingers crossed for him!

  12. Although I’m sorry not to see Bill Clegg’s novel on the shortlist, its diversity is refreshing. I’ll join you on that wall!

  13. Always interesting to see the choices being made and discussed out there, happy to see The Fishermen on there, really want to read that one.

  14. I heard this list and some talk about it on NPR this morning on my way to work. They mentioned the diversity and the overall younger age of the writers (except Anne Tyler). It would be nice to be able to read all of them prior to the big decision! 🙂

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