Cape Town-based South African author, Tan Twan Eng’s The Garden of Evening Mists (Myrmidon Books) is among the 12 list of The Booker Prize selected from 145 titles.
The Man Booker Prize aims to promote the finest in fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth of nations or the Republic of Ireland.
Selection for the 2012 was done by a panel of judges led by the editor of the Times Literary Supplement, Sir Peter Stothard.
The list is of seven men and five women broken to; nine Britons, one Indian, one South African and one Malaysian. The eldest on the list is Michael Frayn at 78 and the youngest is Ned Beauman at 27. Four debut novels, three small independent publishers and one previous winner; all will be trimmed further to six in September.
The literature prize celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008 after launching in 1969.
Organisers say “to maintain the consistent excellence of the Man Booker Prize, judges are chosen from a wide range of disciplines, including critics, writers and academics, but also poets, politicians and actors, all with a passion for quality fiction.”
The winner of the Man Booker Prize receives £50,000 and, like all the shortlisted authors, a cheque for £2,500 and a designer bound copy of their book. Fulfilling one of the objectives of the prize - to encourage the widest possible readership for the best in literary fiction - the winner and the shortlisted authors now enjoy a dramatic increase in book sales worldwide.
“Goodness, madness and bewildering urban change are among the themes of this year’s longlist,” Stothard was quoted.
“In an extraordinary year for fiction the ‘Man Booker Dozen’ proves the grip that the novel has on our world. We did not set out to reject the old guard but, after a year of sustained critical argument by a demanding panel of judges, the new has come powering through,” Stothard added.
Nicola Barker, The Yips (Fourth Estate)
• Ned Beauman, The Teleportation Accident (Sceptre)
• André Brink, Philida (Harvill Secker)
• Tan Twan Eng, The Garden of Evening Mists (Myrmidon Books)
• Michael Frayn, Skios (Faber & Faber)
• Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Doubleday)
• Deborah Levy, Swimming Home (And Other Stories)
• Hilary Mantel, Bring up the Bodies (Fourth Estate)
• Alison Moore, The Lighthouse (Salt)
• Will Self, Umbrella (Bloomsbury)
• Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis (Faber & Faber)
• Sam Thompson, Communion Town (Fourth Estate)