11
Sep

Booker Prize Shortlist

Written on September 11, 2008 by DeansTalk in Arts & Cultures & Societies

The shortlist for this year’s Booker Prize for Fiction has been announced. Here is a quick guide to the six authors who made the grade. (As published by the BBC News)

ARAVIND ADIGA – THE WHITE TIGER
Aravind Adiga. Credit Mark Pringle

Adiga was born in Madras and was raised in India and Australia before studying at Columbia University in New York and Oxford University. He is a former correspondent for Time magazine and has written for the Independent, and the Sunday Times.

The White Tiger, a tale of two Indias, tells the story of Balram, the son of a rickshaw puller in the heartlands. It charts his journey from working in a teashop to entrepreneurial success.

SEBASTIAN BARRY – THE SECRET SCRIPTURE
Sebastian Barry. Credit The Irish Times

Dublin-born Barry has written a number of plays and novels, winning many prizes along the way. His novel A Long Long Way was shortlisted for the Booker in 2005.

The Secret Scripture, told through the journals of Roseanne McNulty and her psychiatrist, is the story of a life blighted by mistreatment – and yet still marked by love and hope – in 1930s Sligo. Through the haze of memory, Roseanne’s story acts as an alternative, secret history of Ireland.

AMITAV GHOSH – SEA OF POPPIES
Amitav Ghosh. Credit Jeery Bauer

Ghosh is one of India’s most popular writers whose books include The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines and The Hungry Tide. He is married to writer Deborah Baker.

Sea of Poppies, the first volume of his Ibis Trilogy, throws together a diverse cast of Indians – from a widowed villager to an evangelical English opium trader – at a time of colonial upheaval.

LINDA GRANT – THE CLOTHES ON THEIR BACKS
Linda Grant

Liverpool-born Grant, the child of Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants, studied English in York and Canada and later became an award-winning journalist with a weekly Guardian column. She was shortlisted for the Booker for 2002’s Still Here.

The Clothes On Their Backs follows the story of Vivien, a sensitive, bookish girl whose slum landlord uncle, Sandor, is inexplicably unwelcome in her parents’ home. Years later, after her husband has died and Sandor has served time in prison, their paths cross – giving Vivien the chance to learn the truth about her family history.

PHILIP HENSHER – THE NORTHERN CLEMENCY
Philip Hensher

Hensher divides his time between writing his novels and critiquing those of others in his role as chief book reviewer for The Spectator. His novel The Mulberry Empire made the longlist for the Booker in 2002, while Kitchen Venom won the Somerset Maughn Award.

The Northern Clemency, set in Sheffield, tells the story of two families living through the Thatcher era. The neighbouring friends are among a large cast of characters whose lives are played out over decades, offering a portrait of Britain’s social landscape.

STEVE TOLTZ – A FRACTION OF THE WHOLE
Steve Toltz

Australian author Toltz, who has made the shortlist with his first novel, has travelled and lived around the world, spending time in Canada, Spain and France. His varied career has seen him work as a private investigator, English teacher and screenwriter.

Epic novel A Fraction of the Whole meanders through the life of the dysfunctional Jasper Dean and details his relationship with his odd-ball father. The book, which has drawn comparisons with cult classic The Confederacy of Dunces, covers a multitude of whimsical adventures from strip clubs to asylums.

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