Byatt, Coetzee and Mantel top Man Booker shortlist

Byatt, Coetzee and Mantel top Man Booker shortlist


Byatt, 73, who won the prize in 1990 for her novel Possession, makes the 2009 shortlist with The Children’s Book, the tale of a famous writer who pens a separate, private book for each of her children, complete with family mysteries.

Writers writing about writers also forms the basis of Summertime, the 2009 entry for South African novelist Coetzee, a mainstay of the Man Booker shortlist in the recent years.
Coetzee, who will become the only writer to take the prize three times if he is named winner on October 6, tells the story of a young biographer who is working on a book about the late writer John Coetzee.

Another notable contender on the shortlist is Hilary Mantel, 57, whose intricately woven historical novels have a strong following. Wolf Hall recounts the life and experiences of Thomas Cromwell, a clerk to Cardinal Wolsey during the reign of Henry VIII. The youngest author on the 2009 shortlist is Adam Foulds, 34, whose novel The Quickening Maze is based on real events that took place near London in the 1840s, telling the story of the incarceration of a nature poet, John Clare, who struggled with alcoholism, critical neglect and depression.

A novel about a house in Czechoslovakia owned by a newly married couple, the Landauers, is the basis for Simon Mawer’s entry on the list, The Glass Room. 

Alphabetically rounding out the shortlist is The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, which tells of Dr Faraday, who returns to a house, Hundreds Hall, that he has not seen for decades only to realise how the family home has declined.

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