You are here

Man Booker Prize announces 2016 shortlist

Man Booker Prize announces 2016 shortlist

Man Booker Prize announces 2016 shortlist

#ManBooker2016 | #FinestFiction


  • Former shortlisted author Deborah Levy and debut novelist Ottessa Moshfegh make the list

  • Independents Granta, Saraband and Oneworld featured alongside Penguin Random House

  • British, American and Canadian authors featured


Paul Beatty, Deborah Levy, Graeme Macrae Burnet, Ottessa Moshfegh, David Szalay and Madeleine Thien are today, Tuesday 13 September, announced as the six shortlisted authors for the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Their names were announced by 2016 Chair of judges, Dr. Amanda Foreman, at a press conference at the offices of sponsor Man Group.

The judges remarked on the role of the novel in exploring culture and in tackling unfamiliar and challenging subjects, and on the shortlisted authors’ willingness to play with language and form. The shortlist features a variety of voices, from new names to award winners. The books cover a diverse range of subjects, from murder in 19th century Scotland to classical music in Revolutionary China.

In the third year that the prize has been open to writers of any nationality, the shortlist is an even split between two British, two US and two Canadian writers. Three novels from Penguin Random House are shortlisted alongside three from small, independent publishers.


2016 Man Booker Shortlist

The 2016 shortlist of six novels is:

Author (nationality) - Title (imprint)

Paul Beatty (US) - The Sellout (Oneworld)

Deborah Levy (UK) - Hot Milk (Hamish Hamilton)

Graeme Macrae Burnet (UK) - His Bloody Project (Contraband)

Ottessa Moshfegh (US) – Eileen (Jonathan Cape)

David Szalay (Canada-UK) - All That Man Is (Jonathan Cape)

Madeleine Thien (Canada) - Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Granta Books)


Amanda Foreman comments:

‘The Man Booker Prize subjects novels to a level of scrutiny that few books can survive. In re-reading our incredibly diverse and challenging longlist, it was both agonizing and exhilarating to be confronted by the sheer power of the writing. As a group we were excited by the willingness of so many authors to take risks with language and form. The final six reflect the centrality of the novel in modern culture – in its ability to champion the unconventional, to explore the unfamiliar, and to tackle difficult subjects.’

Deborah Levy is the only previously-shortlisted author (for Swimming Home in 2012).

Oneworld is in the running again this year with Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, following Marlon James’ win with A Brief History of Seven Killings in 2015, which has gone on to sell over 360,000 copies in the UK and Commonwealth, as well as 120,000 in the US.

Granta makes the list with Do Not Say We Have Nothing after its success with Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, which won in 2014. Eleanor Catton is adapting The Luminaries for the BBC, which will commence filming in New Zealand in 2017.

Fellow independent publisher Saraband appears on the shortlist for the first time with His Bloody Project, a significant achievement for the tiny Glasgow-based house run by two people.

Amanda Foreman is joined on the 2016 panel of judges by Jon Day, Abdulrazak Gurnah, David Harsent and Olivia Williams. The shortlist was chosen from 155 submissions, published in the UK between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016.


Luke Ellis, CEO of Man Group, comments:

‘On behalf of Man Group, I would like to congratulate the shortlisted authors. We are honoured to sponsor the Man Booker Prize, recognising the hard work and creativity of the authors of outstanding fiction. The Prize underscores Man Group's charitable focus on literacy and education as well as our commitment to excellence and creativity. Together with the wider charitable activities of the Booker Prize Foundation, the prize plays a very important role in promoting literary excellence that we are honoured to support.’


The 2016 winner announcement

The 2016 winner will be announced on Tuesday 25 October in London’s Guildhall, at a black-tie dinner that brings together the shortlisted authors and well-known figures from the literary world. The ceremony will be broadcast by the BBC.

In the meantime, there will be a number of public events featuring the shortlisted authors, including two events at The Times & The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival (Saturday 15 October). The traditional Man Booker Prize Readings will take place at the Southbank Centre on the eve of the prize, 24 October, hosted by comedian and writer Sara Pascoe.

A special Man Booker Prize edition of Artsnight will air on BBC Two on Saturday 22 October. There will also be a range of further events with the winner, which will be announced in due course.

The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 and a specially bound edition of their book. The winner will receive a further £50,000 and can expect international recognition.

For the first time ever, RNIB has ensured that braille versions of the shortlisted books are available in time for the announcement. The Booker Prize Foundation has a longstanding partnership with RNIB to provide Man Booker Prize books to the tens of thousands of blind and partially sighted members of the RNIB Library.


The leading prize for quality fiction in English

From longlist stage onwards, the ‘Man Booker Dozen’ receives widespread interest from the media, booksellers and the public, in the form of critical engagement, media coverage and escalated book sales.

First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognised as the leading prize for high quality literary fiction written in English. Its list of winners includes many of the giants of the last four decades, from Salman Rushdie to Hilary Mantel, Iris Murdoch to Ian McEwan.

This is the third year that the prize has been open to writers of any nationality, writing in English and published in the UK. Previously, the prize was open only to authors from the UK & Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.

Man Group has sponsored the prize since 2002. One of the world’s largest independent alternative investment managers, Man Group was recognised as a partner that mirrored the quality, integrity and longevity of the Booker Prize.

To hear the most up-to-date news on this year’s prize, listen to the Man Booker Prize Podcast series, or learn more about the prize’s history and share your thoughts online, please visit




For further information about the prize please visit


For all press enquiries please contact:

Four Colman Getty on +44(0)20 3697 4200

Katy MacMillan-Scott

Rosie Beaumont-Thomas



2016 Shortlist

The Sellout

Paul Beatty

Published by Oneworld (£12.99 Paperback Original)

Born in the ‘agrarian ghetto’ of Dickens on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles and raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family's financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realises there never was a memoir. All that’s left is the bill for a drive-through funeral.

Fuelled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town’s most famous resident – Hominy Jenkins – he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.

What follows is a satire worthy of Jonathan Swift, a remarkable journey that challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution: urban life, the civil rights movement and the holy grail of racial equality – the black Chinese restaurant.  

Paul Beatty was born on 9 June 1962 in Los Angeles, California, USA. The Sellout won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction in 2016. He is the author of three novels – Slumberland, Tuff and The White Boy Shuffle – and two books of poetry: Big Bank Take Little Bank and Joker, Joker, Deuce. He is the editor of Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor. He lives in New York City.

For further information, please contact Margot Weale at Oneworld

Tel: 0207 307 8908, email:


Hot Milk

Deborah Levy

Published by Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House (£12.99)

Two women arrive in a small Spanish fishing village. The older woman is suffering from a mysterious form of paralysis, and driven to seek a cure beyond the bounds of conventional medicine. Her daughter Sofia has spent years playing the reluctant detective in this mystery, struggling to understand her mother's illness.

Surrounded by the oppressive desert heat, searching for a cure to a defiant and quite possibly imagined disease, Sofia is forced to confront her difficult relationship with her mother and her own professional inertia. Dense with mythological symbolism (despite the witty and accessible diction of its heroine), Levy’s book is a study in paralysis. It examines female rage and sexuality as well as the strange and monstrous nature of motherhood, and has been described as ‘Woolf with a sense of humour’.

Deborah Levy was born on 13 January 1959 in South Africa and is a British playwright, novelist and poet. She was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2012 for Swimming Home (2011), which was also shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize. She is the author of four previous novels: Beautiful Mutants (1986); Swallowing Geography (1993); The Unloved (1994); Billy & Girl (1996). Deborah is also the author of a collection of short stories, Black Vodka (2013), which was shortlisted for the BBC International Short Story Award and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. She has written over 20 plays, including Ophelia and The Great Idea, as well as commissions for the Royal Shakespeare Company and for BBC Radio Four.

For further information, please contact Sara D’Arcy at Hamish Hamilton

Tel: 0207 010 3278, email:


His Bloody Project

Graeme Macrae Burnet

Published by Contraband, Saraband (£8.99)

‘My life has been short and of little consequence,’ writes the 17 year-old Roderick Macrae in his memoir. Written in prison in 1869, following his accusation of triple murder, the memoir in question has been rediscovered in 2014 by one of his ancestors, Graeme Burnet Macrae, who proceeds to publish the memoir as its self-appointed editor, supplementing Roderick’s account with footnotes, witness statements, a report on his trial, and the diagnosis of a prison doctor.

His Bloody Project paints a painfully realistic picture of poverty in the tiny crofting community of Culduie in the Scottish Highlands, and asks, among other things, whether Roderick’s actions were the result of insanity or the logical consequence of his circumstances.

Graeme Macrae Burnet was born on 16 October 1967 in Kilmarnock, Scotland. He was a winner of a Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award in 2013. His first novel, The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau (Contraband, 2014), was longlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award and was a cult hit. He is currently working on a further two novels featuring Georges Gorski, the haunted detective in Adèle Bedeau.

For further information, please contact Craig Hillsley at Saraband

Tel: 01756 730955, email:



Ottessa Moshfegh                                    

Published by Jonathan Cape, Penguin Random House (£16.99)

The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop, an unassuming yet disturbed young woman trapped between her role as her alcoholic father’s carer in his squalid home and her day job as a secretary at the boys’ prison, filled with its own quotidian horrors. Consumed by resentment and self-loathing, Eileen tempers her dreary days with perverse fantasies and dreams of escaping to the big city. In the meantime, she fills her nights and weekends with shoplifting, stalking a handsome prison guard named Randy, and cleaning up her increasingly deranged father’s messes. When the beautiful, charismatic Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the new counsellor at the prison, Eileen is enchanted and unable to resist what appears to be a miraculously budding friendship. In a Hitchcockian twist, her affection for Rebecca pulls her into complicity in a crime that surpasses her wildest imaginings.

Ottessa Moshfegh was born on 20 May 1981 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Eileen won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction and was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her first book, McGlue, a novella, won the Fence Modern Prize in Prose and the Believer Book Award. Her short stories have been published in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and Granta, and have earned her a Pushcart Prize, an O. Henry Award, the Plimpton Discovery Prize, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Moshfegh lives in Los Angeles, California. Her short story collection, Homesick for Another World, will be published by Jonathan Cape next year.

For further information, please contact Aidan O’Neill at Jonathan Cape

Tel: 0207 840 8616, email:


All That Man Is

David Szalay

Published by Jonathan Cape, Penguin Random House (£14.99)

Nine men. Each of them at a different stage of life, each of them away from home, and each of them striving – in the suburbs of Prague, beside a Belgian motorway, in a down-at-heel Cypriot hotel – to understand just what it means to be alive, here and now.

Tracing an arc from the spring of youth to the winter of old age, All That Man Is brings these separate lives together to show us men as they are – ludicrous and inarticulate, shocking and despicable; vital, pitiable, hilarious, and full of heartfelt longing.

David Szalay was born on 27 January 1974 in Montreal, Canada. He is the author of three previous novels: Spring, The Innocent and London and the South-East, for which he was awarded the Betty Trask and Geoffrey Faber Memorial prizes. Raised in London, he has lived in Canada and Belgium, and is now based in Budapest. In 2013 he was named as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists.

For further information, please contact Joe Pickering at Jonathan Cape

Tel: 0207 840 8438, email:


Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Madeleine Thien

Published by Granta Books (£12.99)

In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman called Ai-Ming, who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests.

Ai-Ming tells Marie the story of her family in Revolutionary China – from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao’s ascent to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989. It is a story of revolutionary idealism, music, and silence, in which three musicians – the shy and brilliant composer Sparrow, the violin prodigy Zhuli, and the enigmatic pianist Kai – struggle during China’s Cultural Revolution to remain loyal to one another and to the music to which they have devoted their lives. Forced to re-imagine their artistic and private selves, their fates reverberate through the years, with deep and lasting consequences for Ai-Ming – and for Marie.

Madeleine Thien was born on 25 May 1974 in Vancouver, Canada. She is the author of the story collection Simple Recipes (2001) and the novels Certainty and Dogs at the Perimeter, which was shortlisted for Berlin’s 2014 International Literary Award and won the Frankfurt Book Fair’s 2015 LiBeraturpreis. Her books and stories have been translated into 23 languages. Her essays have appeared in Granta, The Guardian, the Financial Times, Five Dials, and Brick, and her story The Wedding Cake was shortlisted for the 2015 Sunday Times EFT Short Story Award. The daughter of Malaysian-Chinese immigrants to Canada, she lives in Montreal.

For further information, please contact Pru Rowlandson at Granta Books

Tel: 0207 605 1373, email:



Notes to Editors

  • The 2016 longlist, or ‘Man Booker Dozen’, consisted of 13 books:


  1. Paul Beatty (US) – The Sellout (Oneworld)

  2. J.M. Coetzee (South African-Australian) – The Schooldays of Jesus (Harvill Secker)

  3. A.L. Kennedy (UK) – Serious Sweet (Jonathan Cape)

  4. Deborah Levy (UK) – Hot Milk (Hamish Hamilton)

  5. Graeme Macrae Burnet (UK) – His Bloody Project (Contraband)

  6. Ian McGuire (UK) – The North Water (Scribner UK)

  7. David Means (US) – Hystopia (Faber & Faber)

  8. Wyl Menmuir (UK) – The Many (Salt)

  9. Ottessa Moshfegh (US) – Eileen (Jonathan Cape)

  10. Virginia Reeves (US) – Work Like Any Other (Scribner UK)

  11. Elizabeth Strout (US) – My Name Is Lucy Barton (Viking)

  12. David Szalay (Canada-UK) – All That Man Is (Jonathan Cape)

  13. Madeleine Thien (Canada) – Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Granta Books)


  • UK publishers may submit novels written in the English language and published in the UK between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016. The number of books a publisher can submit will depend on that publisher’s inclusion in longlists over the previous five years, as follows:

    • Publishers with no longlistings – 1 submission

    • Publishers with 1 or 2 longlisting(s) – 2 submissions

    • Publishers with 3 or 4 longlistings – 3 submissions

    • Publishers with 5 or more longlistings – 4 submissions


This means that the number of submissions for each publisher may change from year to year. A new work by any author who has previously been shortlisted for the Booker (pre-2002) or Man Booker Prize is automatically eligible


The judges ‘call in’ a number of novels each year: in addition to their main submission, a publisher may submit up to five titles for consideration, accompanied by a justification from the editor. The judges are required to call in no fewer than eight and no more than 12 of these titles. The judges are also permitted to call in other books published within the requisite dates, even if the book has not been submitted through any other route


  • Four Colman Getty handles PR and event management for the prize and provides all events and administrative back-up

  • The Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation is Gaby Wood. The Administrator of the Man Booker International Prize is Fiammetta Rocco – Culture Editor of The Economist and 1843


  • Marlon James won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction with A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld). To date, over 315,000 copies of the book have been sold in the UK and Commonwealth


  • The Man Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969 and has been sponsored by Man Group since 2002. The long-term future of the prize was secured in 2011 with the announcement of a renewed 10-year sponsorship from Man Group. The title ‘Booker Prize’ therefore only applies to prize years 1969 – 2001, before Man Group plc’s sponsorship began, and since 2002 it has been called The Man Booker Prize for Fiction. It would be greatly appreciated if you could ensure that your editorial is factually correct by referring to the prize’s full title at least once, if not in the headline, then in your next subsequent mention. For a full history of the prize including previous winners, shortlisted authors and judges visit the website:

  • The Man Booker International Prize is awarded annually for the best single work of fiction translated into English and published in the UK. The £50,000 prize is divided equally between the author and the translator. Each shortlisted author and translator receives £1,000. The 2016 winner was The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith. 2016 was the first year of the newly evolved prize, which was originally established in 2005 as a biennial prize awarded to an author for an achievement in fiction

  • The trustees of the Booker Prize Foundation are: Baroness Kennedy QC – Chair, former Chair of the British Council and Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford; Lord Baker of Dorking CH; Bidisha – writer, critic and broadcaster; Victoria Glendinning CBE – biographer; James Naughtie – broadcaster; Ben Okri – writer and 1991 Booker Prize winner; Christopher Pearce – former Finance Director of Rentokil plc; Professor Louise Richardson – Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford; Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne; Jonathan Taylor CBE is President of the Foundation; Sir Ronald Harwood and Baroness Neuberger are Vice Presidents of the Foundation

The Booker Prize Foundation Advisory Committee, which advises on any changes to the rules and on the selection of the judges, represents all aspects of the book world. Its members are: Mark Chilton – Company Secretary and General Counsel of Booker Group plc; Jonty Claypole – Head of Arts, BBC; James Daunt – Managing Director of Waterstones; Jonathan Douglas – Director of the National Literacy Trust; Maggie Fergusson – writer and Secretary of the Royal Society of Literature; Adam Freudenheim – publisher, Pushkin Press; Derek Johns – Author & Literary Agent; Peter Kemp – Chief Fiction Reviewer, The Sunday Times; Rosanna Konarzewski – Man Group plc; Nigel Newton – publisher, Bloomsbury; Fiammetta Rocco – Culture Editor, The Economist and 1843 and Man Booker International Prize Administrator; Michal Shavit – publishing director, Jonathan Cape; Eve Smith – Secretary, the Booker Prize Foundation; Boyd Tonkin – Writer and Critic. It is chaired by Gaby Wood, Literary Director, Booker Prize Foundation


  • Man Group has sponsored the Man Booker Prize since 2002. A leading alternative investment management firm founded in 1783, Man Group was recognised as a partner who mirrored the quality, integrity and longevity of the Booker Prize. The prize underscores Man Group's charitable focus on literacy and education as well as the firm’s commitment to excellence and entrepreneurship. Together with the wider charitable activities of the Booker Prize Foundation, the prize plays a very important role in promoting literary excellence on a global scale that the firm is honoured to support

  • Man Group is one of the world’s largest independent alternative investment management groups. Man Group’s managers (Man AHL, Man FRM, Man GLG and Man Numeric) have diverse long/short and long only strategies spanning equity, credit, managed futures, convertibles, emerging markets and multi-managers. At 30 June 2016, Man Group’s funds under management were $76.4 billion.  The original business was founded in 1783. Today, Man Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker EMG.L and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.   Man Group also supports many awards, charities and initiatives around the world, including sponsorship of the Man Booker literary prizes. Further information can be found at

  • Booker is the UK's leading food wholesaler with over 170 branches nationwide. It serves over 350,000 independent businesses

  • The Booker Prize Foundation has a longstanding partnership with RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People). The Foundation funds the production of the shortlisted titles in braille, giant print and audio, which the sight loss charity produces by the date the winner is announced. Accessible versions are then made available to the tens of thousands of blind and partially sighted members of the RNIB Library. People with sight loss have a limited choice of books in accessible formats and often have to wait much longer than their sighted peers for titles to be made available to them - and there are many more books that they will never have the chance to read. The Foundation is working with RNIB to change this story. For further information contact the RNIB PR Team on 020 7391 2223 or  

  • The Booker Prize Archive was given on loan in 2003 to Oxford Brookes University where it now resides



Four Colman Getty,

September 2016


Four Colman Getty,

September 2016