Entertainment & Arts

Hilary Mantel on Booker Prize longlist

The Booker longlist
Image caption The winner will be announced on 16 October

Former Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel has made the longlist for this year's prize, it has been announced.

The author, who won in 2009 for Wolf Hall, is nominated for sequel Bring Up The Bodies.

The 12 nominees, which also include Will Self, Michael Frayn and Deborah Levy, were selected from 145 titles.

The shortlist of six authors will be announced on 11 September, with the winner of the £50,000 prize named on 16 October.

This year's longlist includes four debut novelists - Rachel Joyce, Alison Moore, Jeet Thayil and Sam Thompson.

The oldest author is Michael Frayn at 78 with Ned Beauman the youngest at 27.

"Goodness, madness and bewildering urban change are among the themes of this year's longlist," chair of the judges and Times literary supplement editor, Sir Peter Stothard, said.

"In an extraordinary year for fiction the Man Booker Dozen proves the grip that the novel has on our world.

Sir Peter told the BBC the selected works were "all books that will last", tackling subjects including dementia, the state of the city, the pace of technological change and "some strong attempts to deal with the nature of virtue".

He said each of the novels on the longlist had been re-read by the judges "at least once" and he believed they would "repay reading more than once".

"We want people to take them away and read them on holiday," he added, "but its more important to me that they bring them back and read them again. They shouldn't be left on the sand."

Joining Sir Peter on the judging panel are Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens, aka Matthew Crawley, critic Dinah Birch, historian Amanda Foreman and writer Bharat Tandon.

Foreman wrote the book Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire which was adapted into the Oscar-winning film The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley.

Bharat Tandon specialises in teaching British and US literature while Birch has a background in Victorian literature and is an expert on Charles Dickens and the Bronte sisters.

The winning author is likely to see a considerable sales increase after the win.

Last year's winner, The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes, went on to sell more than 100,000 copies.

The shortest novel of the six finalists, it deals with the themes of childhood friendship and the imperfections of memory.

The story is narrated by a middle-aged man, Tony Webster, who reflects on the paths he and his friends have taken as the past catches up with him via a bequeathed diary.

However, judges faced criticism last year for placing an emphasis on "readable" works, with some saying the notion of artistic achievement had been abandoned in favour of a "dumbed down" shortlist.

Media captionMan Booker judge and actor Dan Stevens fit in time to read 146 books

Commenting on the longlist, Jonathan Ruppin from Foyles bookshops said it was "one of the most delightful and unexpected longlists in years".

"The absence of certain big names - Rose Tremain, Ian McEwan, and Zadie Smith in particular - may worry some retailers, but this is terrific opportunity for bookshops to show readers how much amazing fiction can be found off the beaten track," he said.

"The fact that thousands of readers will be trying writers like Deborah Levy, Jeet Thayil and Ned Beauman should be a genuinely thrilling prospect for all those who care about contemporary fiction."

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