Oldest writer ever on Booker Prize Shortlist

This year’s shortlist for the £50,000 Booker Prize for fiction has already notched up a first.  Alan Garner, author of the allegorical fable Ridley Walker (Fourth Estate), is the oldest ever writer to be shortlisted in the prize’s 53-year history.  Should he win, he will be 88 on the night the prize is announced. 

The other shortlisted novels are:  Glory (Chatto) by NoViolet Bulawayo, Small Things Like These (Faber) by Claire Keegan; The Trees (Influx Press) by Percival Everett;

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida (Sort of) by Shehan Karunatilaka; and Oh William! (Viking) by Elizabeth Strout.

Glory is a satire that echoes Animal Farm, based around the fall of former president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe.  Small Things Like These is set against the background of Ireland’s so-called Magdalene laundries where unmarried mothers were treated harshly.  The Trees is based on the real-life lynching of Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955.  The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida is set during the Sri Lankan civil war. Elizabeth Strout’s Oh William!, is the third novel in the author’s Lucy Barton series, and follows Lucy’s reflections on marriage following the death of her second husband.

Announcing the shortlist from the Serpentine Pavilion in Hyde Park, London, Booker Prize judges chair Neil MacGregor said in all six books “something momentous happens to an individual or to a society. They realize what they are and what they can become.”

The winner will be announced on Monday, 17 October.