Paul Auster, Colson Whitehead and past winner Arundhati Roy are among the contenders for this year’s Man Booker Prize for their fiction novels. Roy, who won the prize in 1997 for her fiction “The God of Small Things,” is in the race again with her long-awaited second novel, “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.”
Auster’s intimate epic “4 3 2 1” and Whitehead’s fantasy-tinged historical saga “The Underground Railroad” are among four works by US authors on the list, alongside Emily Fridlund’s coming-of-age story “History of Wolves” and George Saunders’ magical, mournful “Lincoln in the Bardo” are also among few others.
Man Booker Prize is a high-profile literary award in British culture and is greeted with great anticipation and fanfare. If Roy wins the literary award, it will be her second prestigious award.
The 13 books announced Thursday were chosen from 144 novels submitted by publishers. Literary critic Lola Young, the chairwoman of the judging panel, said the list contained works of “huge energy, imagination, and variety.”
The six finalists will be named September 13, and the winner of the 50,000-pound ($65,000) prize will be announced on October 17.
Arundhati Roy has always been fearless in expressing her opinion. She was recently targeted by right-wing supporters for her statement that even if India increases its military footprint from seven lakh to 70 lakh in Kashmir, it wouldn’t be able to wrest Kashmir where it matters, that is in the hearts and minds of ordinary Kashmiris, sparked controversy inviting comments and threats to her.
However, it’s her determined, strong, and unequivocal political eviscerations – both of the neoliberal Congress-led camp as well as BJP-Modi-NDA-Sangh Parivar brigade that make her a longstanding foe of successive ruling regimes.