My 2019 (Man) Booker Wish List

Another year, another Man Booker Prize longlist in the offing, except this year its reverted to the Booker Prize, thanks to a change of sponsorship with Crankstart stepping into the funding breach as of June 1st this year. To be eligible for the prize all books must be published in the UK between October 1st 2018 and 30th September 2019, and have been written in English. Regular readers will know that any similarity between my wish list and the judges’ longlist is likely to be entirely coincidental. The judges usually allow themselves twelve, although they sometimes stretch to thirteen and this year I have, too. Their list will be revealed on Wednesday, 24th July but here’s mine – wishes not predictions – in no particular order, with links to my reviews.

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Little                                                         Flames                                   Land of the Living

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Memories of the Future              In the Full Light of the Sun            A Stranger City

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We, The Survivors                            The Narrow Land                       The Language of Birds


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Starling Days                                     The Dutch House                    The Hiding Game

Beyond the Sea

It’s quite possible that I’ll read a gem I’d loved to have included here before September 3rd when the shortlist is announced but I’m sticking to the tried and tested. And if I had to choose one? That’s a tough decision this year. It’s a toss-up between A Stranger City, The Dutch House and Land of the Living, although there are several others I’d be loath to relinquish.

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

40 thoughts on “My 2019 (Man) Booker Wish List”

  1. This is a great collection which would make a worthy long list. As always, it will be fascinating to see what the judges pick – it must be such a difficult job, but a wonderful adventure too.

  2. I loved Little, though I’m not sure if they’ll extend a vote to a work of historical fiction, but it would be great if they did. I like the sound of We, The Survivors.

    I’d like to see greater diversity on the list, I think Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi was stunning in its structure and form and the demands it made on the reader’s imagination and The Atlas of Reds and Blues by Devi S. Laskar(not sure if published in the UK) for similar reasons.

    I haven’t read them (and again unsure about eligibility) but I would to see books like An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma, She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore, The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay and of course a good sprinkling of complete unknowns to get us all talking and reading outside what we normally cluster towards!

  3. I haven’t read any of these except for Starling Days which I’m afraid I didn’t like at all, but I’m keen to read the Aw and Patchett, among others. I’ve just finished Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys and would be stunned if that didn’t make the list – it’s both great and timely.

    1. I’m sure you’re right about the Whitehead. Shame about Starling Days but if you’re an Ann Patchett fan The Dutch House is a treat, and the Aw is also very timely.

  4. Ahhhh Memories of the Future. It’s GOT to be there. (Land of the Living is an interesting choice – I would be neither sad nor surprised to see it.) In the Full Light of the Sun seemed to squander some of its potential by being over-long, though.

    1. I love Harding’s quiet understatement. I know what you mean about the Clark being overlong but there was enough there to keep my attention. As for Ms Hustvedt, she’s probably in with more of a chance than some of my other choices.

  5. I can’t believe it’s Booker time of year already! I would love to see Little nominated. I’ve DNFed a few of your selections, alas, but I very much look forward to the Patchett and Wood.

  6. Great list, typically I haven’t read any of them. I had wondered if Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments would get a mention. It’s published on September 10th so could sneak in under the wire.

  7. I can’t believe it’s that time of year again! I haven’t read any of your selections although I have several in my TBR pile. To be honest, I have no idea what the judges look for and usually end up wondering why they picked what they did…

    However, although I’ve not read it, I’m hearing a lot about Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.

    1. I think the yawning chasm between my wish lists and the judges’ decsion indicates I have no clue, either! I’ve heard lots of good things about the Vuong, too.

  8. Interesting selections … and I’ve not read any of them A few are on my TBR, which resides on the other side of the world in the safe hands of my OH who has already said if I make the move to Oz permanent I can ship ALL my books

    1. Blimey! I hope you have some containers lined up.

      I’m hoping the judges will plump for at least one or two of these but I’ve long since stopped playing the guessing game, preferring to list books I’ve read and loved.

      1. Well, contrary to popular opinion, my collection is very small owing to space restrictions of living in a cramped one bed flat. I reckon 6 suitcases would do it

  9. Maria Ferreira

    Thanks for your wishing list
    which is quite good.
    Memories of the future should be there. I have never read a book from Siri Ustved that I didn’t like.

    1. Thanks, Clare. Little is such a brilliant little book, isn’t it. You’ve got two treats in store there. I was wary of The Language of Birds thanks to the Lord Lucan coverage over the years but it was handled beautifully by Dawson.

  10. Great list! I have not read nearly enough literary fiction that is eligible to have ny predictions or wishes but I am super excited about the longlist anyways.

        1. Thanks, Hannah, and me, too! I’ve never managed to score zero before. I did dally with My, Sister the Serial Killer but just couldn’t bring myself to give up one of the others.

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