My 2018 Man Booker Wish List

Almost time for the 2018 Man Booker judges to announce their longlist to readers, not to mention publishers, waiting with bated breath to see if their favourites are amongst the chosen few. This year’s a special one. As I’m sure you all know, It’s the prize’s fiftieth anniversary which has been celebrated with a string of events, culminating in the coronation of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient as the Golden Man Booker ten days ago. There’s also been a little celebration over at Shiny New Books where contributors have been writing about their own favourites.

Regular readers will know that any similarity between my wish list and the 2018 Man Booker judges’ longlist is likely to be entirely coincidental. To be eligible for the prize all books must be published in the UK between October 1st 2017 and 30th September 2018 and have been written in English. Like the judges I’ve allowed myself twelve, although they sometimes stretch to thirteen. Their list will be revealed on Tuesday 24th July but here’s mine – wishes not predictions, see above – in no particular order, with links to my reviews.

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Sugar Money                                   The Ninth Hour                        A Long Way from Home

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The Immortalists                         From a Low and Quiet Sea             White Houses

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The Life to Come                                         Putney                              All Among the Barley

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Transcription                                     Bitter Orange                Now We Shall Be Entirely Free


It’s quite possible that I’ll read a gem I’d loved to have included here published before 30th September – I’m reasonably sure that Patrick deWitt’s French Exit would make my cut and William Boyd’s Love is Blind is due in September– but I’m sticking to novels I’ve read. And if I had to choose one? That would be Kate Atkinson’s Transcription but no doubt the judges will disagree with me on that yet again.

What about you? What would you like to see on the list, and what do you think the judges will plump for?

31 thoughts on “My 2018 Man Booker Wish List”

  1. I’m really hoping Jeet Thayil’s “The Book of Chocolate Saints” makes the list, totally under appreciated, hardly even acknowledged upon release.

      1. New to everyone I think, completely under the radar. If it makes the longlist I’m sure that will make up for it – his 1st novel “Narcopolis” was shortlisted, so he has “form”. I loved this one, an Indian “Savage Detectives”.

  2. What an intriguing mix! I’ve just started reading Tom Rachman’s The Italian Teacher and am adoring it. Of your picks, I’ve only read the Donal Ryan, which probably wouldn’t make my cut. But would love Bitter Oranges to be there – that’s on my pile for August.Great to hear De Witt has a new one coming out too.

    1. The Rachman’s on my tbr list. I’ve enjoyed his previous novels very much. Bitter Orange lives up to the expectations raised by Fuller’s previous novels. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, Annabel.

  3. I’ve read so many older books this year that I can’t think of a single book that I could nominate, but seeing names like Claire Fuller, Kate Atkinson and Melissa Harrison tells me that I can’t argue with your list at all and that it is probably time I read rather more contemporary literary fiction

  4. Like Jane, I haven’t read enough contemporary fiction this year to contribute anything to the Booker debate, but your inclusion of Melissa Harrison’s novel is very encouraging to see. i definitely liked the sound of it from your preview the other day.

  5. Some interesting picks there, predictably I haven’t read any of them. Though I am interested in Bitter Orange and All Among the Barley. I always keep an eye on what gets nominated though I have lost the big interest in the Booker I once had.

    1. I’d highly recommend both of those titles. It’s far from my favourite prize, Ali, but like you I keep an eye on the titles that appear on the long and short lists.

  6. I haven’t read any of them, nor any contemporary fiction this year yet, but in my heart I’ll be rooting for Helen DeWitt’s Some Trick (though short stories, so I’m not sure would be eligible?) and Olivia Laing’s Crudo. Laing is such a great writer, seeing her span the divide into fiction with as much accolade as her non-fiction would be awesome.

      1. I think it will be a while before I read it too, but I expect it is worth waiting for. Hopefully some of your faves make the longlist this year.

  7. Something to think about this weekend! I added Bitter Orange to my TBR list. White Houses was not a favorite–did not capture “my” Eleanor and Hick. I’ll think about this and see what I can come up with. I’m off to investigate a few of your choices.

    1. I remember that I was much more impressed by the Bloom than you, I suspect because you know more about Eleanor and Hick than I do. I hope you like the Fuller and that a few of the others take your fancy!

  8. Some of these I’ve read (Life to Come, Low and Quiet, White Houses) and some I own (Putney, Bitter Orange). Do you think the publishing industry can laugh at itself enough to give de Kretser the prize?! I haven’t devoted any thinking time to predictions but from your list, I’d go for Low & Quiet Sea – I loved that book, particularly the first section.

    1. Probably not! I find it more fun to list what I’d like to see rather than what I think will be on the list but there are a few here I think might make it. The Ryan was such a beautiful, poignant book – I loved it too

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