Yanagihara on Longlist for Man Booker Prize


LONDON -— The longlist, or “Man Booker Dozen,” for the Man Booker Prize was announced on July 29.

The prize includes 50,000 pounds (about $78,000).

Hanya Yanagihara

Hanya Yanagihara

“The Man Booker Prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year,” said the Man Group, the prize’s sponsor. “The prize is the world’s most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and publishers.”

This year’s longlist of 13 books was selected by a panel of five judges chaired by Michael Wood and also comprising Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, John Burnside, Sam Leith and Frances Osborne. The judges considered 156 books.

This is the second year that the prize, first awarded in 1969, has been open to writers of any nationality, writing originally in English and published in the U.K. Previously, the prize was open only to authors from the U.K. and Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.

The shortlist of six books will be announced at a press conference on Sept. 15 and the winner will be announced on Oct. 13 in London 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.

Among those on the longlist is Hanya Yanagihara of the U.S. for her second novel, “A Little Life” (Picador), a depiction of heartbreak, and a dark examination of the tyranny of memory and the limits of human endurance.

When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

hanya yanagihara-book coverOver the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly tainted litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and boy scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome — but that will define his life forever.

Born in 1975, Yanagihara has roots in Hawaii, where she attended Punahou High School. She is the first member of her family not to work on the pineapple and sugar cane fields, as her parents did when they were young. Her father, the first Yanagihara to finish high school, became a respected scientist.

She graduated from Smith College in 1995. Her work in publishing and journalism included Vintage Books and the magazine Brill’s Content. She was executive editor for Condé Nast Traveler and is now a deputy editor at T: The New York Times Style Magazine.

Her first novel, “The People in the Trees,” was widely praised as one of the best novels of 2013 and propelled Yanagihara to national and international attention. The novel follows a young doctor’s trip to the remote and fictional Micronesian island of Ivu’ivu and his search for a rumored last tribe. The book is a mix of the exciting elements of a thriller and the tragic possibilities of cultural collisions.

“The People in the Trees” was based on the real-life case of virologist Daniel Carleton Gajdusek, whose reputation was tarnished when he was convicted of molesting one of the 56 children he had brought back to the U.S. to live with him during the course of his research in the South Pacific.

Yanagihara worked on “The People in the Trees” for 16 years, but finished “A Little Life” in 18 months. The Wall Street Journal said that her second novel “announces her as a major American novelist.”

The Boston Globe has called Yanagihara “like a chef who manages to whip up a divine dish from an unlikely combination of ingredients.” According to The New York Times, Yanagihara is a “writer to marvel at.”

Also on the longlist are:

“A Brief History of Seven Killings” by Marlon James (Jamaica)

“Did You Ever Have a Family” by Bill Clegg (U.S.)

“Sleeping on Jupiter” by Anuradha Roy (India)

“The Green Road” by Anne Enright (Ireland)

“The Year of the Runaways” by Sunjeev Sahota (U.K.)

“Lila” by Marilynne Robinson (U.S.)

“The Chimes” by Anna Smaill (New Zealand)

“The Illuminations” by Andrew O’Hagan (U.K.)

“A Spool of Blue Thread” by Anne Tyler (U.S.)

“Satin Island” by Tom McCarthy (U.K.)

“The Fishermen” by Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria)

“The Moor’s Account” by Laila Lalami (U.S.)



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