Booker Prize Shortlist Includes Writing Program Faculty Paul Beatty

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21-Sep-16
Writing program Assistant Professor Paul Beatty’s novel The Sellout (Oneworld) has been shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. The list, which includes six books, is derived from a 13-book longlist, which was announced in August. David Means ’87 also appeared on the longlist for the award for his debut novel Hystopia.
 
The other authors on the shortlist are Deborah Levy (Hot Milk), David Szalay (All That Man Is), Graeme Macrae Burnet (His Bloody Project), Madeleine Thien (Do Not Say We Have Nothing), and Ottessa Moshfegh (Eileen), who is scheduled to deliver a Writing program Creative Writing Lecture here at Columbia in November.

The Man Booker Prize has been awarded annually since 1969. In 2014 the award, which was previously only given to books by writers from the UK, Ireland, the Commonwealth, and Zimbabwe, was expanded to include any books published in the UK and first written in English. This year’s shortlist includes books by British, American, and Canadian authors.
 
The judges for this year’s award, who considered 155 submissions, include Dr. Amanda Foreman (Chair), Jon Day, Abdulrazak Gurnah, David Harsent, and Olivia Williams. According to the Man Booker Prize Web site, 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 Sellout, a satire about a young African-American man living in Southern California who attempts to reinstate slavery and segregate a local school, was published in 2015. The New York Times’s Dwight Garner said the novel’s first 100 pages “are the most caustic and the most badass first 100 pages of an American novel I’ve read in at least a decade,” adding that Beatty “impastos every line in ways that recall writers like Ishmael Reed, with shifting densities of racial and political meaning.” The Sellout was named one of the best books of 2015 by the Times and the Wall Street Journal, and it won the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction.
 
The Man Booker Prize, which includes a monetary award of £50,000 (roughly $66,000), will be announced on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at a black-tie dinner in London. The ceremony will be televised on BBC.

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