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Last Updated Saturday October 14 2017 07:55 AM IST

Arundhati Roy's comeback fiction on longlist of Man Booker

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roy-ministry Arundhati Roy with a copy of her novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

New Delhi: Arundhati Roy's latest work of fiction, "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness", has made it to the longlist of this year's Man Booker Prize.

The book came after a 19-year-long hiatus since the author's debut novel "God of Small Things", that won the Booker Prize in 1997.

The judges described the book as "a rich and vital book" that "comes from the bowels of India" and has "remarkable scale" and "extraordinary style and intelligence".

Born in 1961, New Delhi-based Roy has published several works of non-fiction, including 'The Algebra of Infinite Justice', 'Listening to Grasshoppers' and 'Broken Republic'.

"Only when we'd finally selected our 13 novels did we fully realize the huge energy, imagination and variety in them as a group. The longlist showcases a diverse spectrum not only of voices and literary styles but of protagonists too, in their culture, age and gender. Nevertheless we found there was a spirit common to all these novels: though their subject matter might be turbulent, their power and range were life- affirming a tonic for our times.

"Together their authors both recognized and new explore an array of literary forms and techniques, from those working in a traditional vein to those who aim to move the walls of fiction'," Lola Young, the chair of this year's judges, said.

Roy is joined by four previously shortlisted writers -- Ali Smith (2001, Hotel World; 2005, The Accidental; and 2014, How to Be Both); Zadie Smith (2005, On Beauty), Sebastian Barry (2005, A Long Long Way Down; 2008, The Secret Scripture; and longlisted in 2011 for On Canaan's Side) and Mohsin Hamid (2007, The Reluctant Fundamentalist).

Other writers include Emily Fridlund from US (History of Wolves), Mike McCormack from Ireland (Solar Bones), Jon McGregor from UK (Reservoir 13), Fiona Mozley from UK (Elmet), George Saunders from US (Lincoln in the Bardo) Kamila Shamsie from UK-Pakistan (Home Fire) and Colson Whitehead from US (The Underground Railroad).

The list, which was chosen from 144 submissions published in the UK between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017, was selected by a panel of five judges: Baroness Lola Young, literary critic, Lila Azam Zanganeh, Man Booker Prize shortlisted novelist, Sarah Hall, artist, Tom Phillips CBE RA, and travel writer, Colin Thubron CBE.

"Congratulations to all the authors who have been longlisted for this year's Man Booker Prize. The longlist recognizes the hard work and creativity of thought of these exceptional writers, and inclusion is an important achievement," said Luke Ellis, CEO of the Man Group.

"As ever, we are we are very proud to support the Man Booker Prize and the valuable role it plays in promoting literary excellence and endeavor," he said.

Established in 1969, the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, awards writers of any nationality, writing in English and published in the UK, and carries a cash prize of 50,000 pound, along with a specially bound edition of the winner's book.

The shortlist of six books will be announced on September 13, and the 2017 winner will be finally announced on October 17.

Read more: Lifestyle | Books  

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