Sometimes, the list of entrants who don’t make make it onto the shortlist for a literary prize can be as interesting as those who do. The prestigious Folio Prize, which is open to books of any genre from anywhere in the world, written in the english language and published in England, this week named its final eight, and there were some surprising omissions. First the shortlist which includes some exciting and original works:
10:04 by Ben Lerner (Granta)
All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews (Faber)
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (Granta)
Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Granta)
Family Life by Akhil Sharma (Faber)
How to Be Both by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)
Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín (Viking)
Outline by Rachel Cusk (Faber)
But missing out from the 80 works which were considered were, to name just a few: Richard Flanagan’s Booker Prize-winning The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Bark by Lorrie Moore, The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee, Marilynne Robinson’s Lila, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Can’t & Won’t by Lydia Davis, J by Howard Jacobson and The Paying Guest by Sarah Waters. Check out the full list of 80 nominated books. The Folio Prize winner will be announced in London on Monday 23rd March.
It’s always dangerous to speculate with three of the books from the shortlist still unread, but my current money would optimistically be on three books which surprised as well as entertained me: Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s Dust, Miriam Toews All My Puny Sorrows and Ali Smith’s How to Be Both.