Who will be longlisted for the 2014 Booker Prize?

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The longlist for the 2014 Booker Prize will be announced on Wednesday 23rd July 2014. This year the rules have been changed to allow American authors to enter for the first time. No-one knows quite how this will affect the longlist, but I’m sure it will change the dynamics a bit. It also means that a wider pool of books are eligible, making a prediction of the longlist even harder.

For the past few months I’ve been scouring the Internet for signs of Booker potential and have chosen 13 books which I think are strong enough to make the grade.

My predictions for the 2014 Booker longlist:

Dept. of SpeculationThe Narrow Road to the Deep NorthThe Blazing World

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt

The Bone ClocksThe Paying GuestsThe Goldfinch

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Signature of All ThingsThe OrendaEvery Day is for the Thief

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Orenda by Joseph Boyden

Every Day is for the Thief by Teju Cole

The Emperor WaltzArctic SummerBoy, Snow, BirdFourth of July Creek

The Emperor Waltz by Philip Hensher

Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi


Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

What do you think of my prediction?

Which books would you like to see on the longlist?

Update 21st July: I’ve just realised that The Shock of the Fall was originally published under a different title, earlier than the Booker cut off date, so have swapped it for Fourth of July Creek in my prediction. 


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38 Comments

  1. David says:

    Well done for having a stab at it, Jackie. I’m not even going to attempt it with the new eligibility rules (I’m not even sure I’m that interested in following the prize this year). I too would be pleased to see Richard Flanagan and Joseph Boyden on the list.
    Jerry Pinto’s ‘Em and the Big Hoom’ and Smith Henderson’s ‘Fourth of July Creek’ would be among my picks of the year’s best, but goodness knows what will actually have been submitted.

    1. Jackie says:

      David, I’ve not come across “Em and the Big Hoom” before, but it sounds like a fabulous book – thanks for pointing it out.

      Yes, it’s very difficult to know what has been submitted this year – the publishers have some very tricky decisions to make. I’ll be very interested in the actual list as it will give us a better idea of the sort of books being submitted so we can make better guesses next year!

  2. tanya says:

    I like your list, but I also think we will see Tom Rachman on it. And maybe Elizabeth is Missing. I would love to see Christos Tsiolkas, but i doubt that will happen. And there is always the outside chance for Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto.

    1. Jackie says:

      Tanya, Interesting selection! I wasn’t a fan of Tsiolkas’ latest book (but I loved The Slap) I’ve heard a few people say they enjoyed it, but noone has really raved about it so I’d be surprised to see it on the longlist.

      Elizabeth is Missing is an interesting choice. I finished it last week and think it could make the cut. It had a few flaws, but did have an originality that makes it stand out from the crowd. Could be a good outside bet.

      I’ve not read Tom Rachman, but have heard good things about him. I look forward to finding out if any of your suggestions make the list :-)

  3. Great predictions! I’ve read a few more off of your list this year than usual, so I hope they go all the way!

  4. Oh, I hope, I hope Boy Snow Bird makes the cut. I thought it was a wonderful book, head and shoulders over what Oyeyemi’s done in the past (and I loved what she’s done in the past), and I’d love to see it get the Booker. At least get nominated for it.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenny, I haven’t tried Boy, Snow, Bird as I haven’t been a fan of her previous books. It is interesting to know you think it is so much better than her others – I’ll give it a try at some point.

  5. Emma says:

    Ohh seeing your predictions has got me very excited!! I really hope The Orenda makes it! It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year without a doubt! So beautifully written and left me wanting to read everything by him! Is Michel Faber’s new one eligible? I can never remember the rules of qualifying!

    1. Jackie says:

      Emma, I think Faber’s book must have been delayed because I can’t see any mention of a publication date. He’ll probably be a good contender next year.

      I’d be surprised if The Orenda didn’t make the longlist. I’d put it straight on the shortlist and think it could be a contender for the actual prize this year. Fingers crossed!

      1. David says:

        It’ll be intriguing to see whether ‘The Orenda’ is longlisted, and if so how far it can go. It didn’t win either of the Canadian prizes it was listed for last year (it didn’t even make the Giller shortlist), and three of the books that fared better than it over there are eligible over here for this year’s Booker (Lisa Moore’s ‘Caught’, Craig Davidson’s ‘Cataract City’, and Dan Vyleta’s ‘The Crooked Maid’).

        1. Jackie says:

          David, True, but the consensus is that the Canadian judges got it wrong. It will be interesting to see if the Booker judges like it.

      2. Emma says:

        Faber’s book comes out on 23rd October! I am so very intrigued by it! My colleague says it has one of the best opening passages he’s ever read! It could be a contender….

        1. Jackie says:

          Emma, So too late for this year’s prize, but something to look forward to anyway :-)

  6. Aparatchick says:

    I’d like to see All That is Solid Melts Into Air, by Darragh McKeon and All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr on the longlist. Time will tell! In the meantime, I’m eagerly awaiting Sarah Waters’ latest.

    1. Jackie says:

      Aparatchick, All That’s Solid is a good choice. It wasn’t to my taste, but wouldn’t be surprised to see it on the list. All the Light We Cannot See is new to me *heads off to look it up*

  7. Annabel says:

    There are just too many books to read these days – and I was amazed to see that I’ve not read any on your list above, thus I have completely no idea at all!

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, That just means you have a lot of good books to look forward to :-)

  8. Ifi says:

    Like Annabel I haven’t read any of these books except for “Shock of the Fall.
    So I can’t really make a comment. So sad. :(

    1. Jackie says:

      Ifi, Not sad at all! Enjoy browsing through the list :-)

  9. Elida says:

    I have just started to read Siri Hustvedt’s books, but her latest has received good critics so I’m rooting for her.

    I’m reading The Goldfinch now, so it’s early to say what I think, but all in all she is a good writer. A friend of mine has read Arctic Summer, and recommends it, and books about another writer has been well received before by the Booker prize.

    What about Michael Cunninghams The Snow Queen?

    1. Jackie says:

      Elida, Blazing World is very well constructed. I’d be very surprised if it didn’t make the longlist. *fingers crossed*

      The Snow Queen is a good suggestion. I haven’t read it or heard much about it, but he is a very talented author so his inclusion wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  10. I’m hoping for The Goldfinch or Signature of All Things — Thanks for sharing this list Jackie.

    1. Jackie says:

      Diane, I’m really hoping for The Signature of All Things. *fingers crossed*

  11. Booker Man says:

    A good stab at the Booker’s dozen; well done. And quite a few I agree on in there. Not read The Shock of the Fall yet (starting tonight!), but I can’t agree with The Signature of All Things – good book but Booker worthy? Not sure.

    1. Jackie says:

      Booker Man, I find it so hard to judge what is “Booker Worthy” I know what I think is worthy, but so often the Booker judges go completely against that, choosing enjoyable reads with no real literary merit. I actually think The Signature of All Things does have literary merit. It was my favourite read last year and combines fantastic characters, good writing and some thought provoking questions. I think it has a depth and quality. No less than The Goldfinch or Narrow Road to Deep North?

      1. Booker Man says:

        Jackie, I understand your point and love many of Elizabeth Gilbert’s works and writings. Eat Prey Love, and Committed were superb, as was The Last American Man (a real favourite of mine). I am not high-brow nor should books be, but for me Booker-worthy is the challenge of unravelling a exceptionally well-written and complex tale, which then stays with me forever, and I find only a few books really live up to this. Hence my hope each year that ‘this will be the one’! I hope for a new ‘Life of Pi’ or a ‘Wolf Hall’ etc… Once again, I am putting my own pre-long list on Twitter tomorrow. I’d love to see what you think. Again, thanks for the excellent blog and discussion.

        1. Jackie says:

          Booker Man, I agree. Very few books live up to that high bar though. I think I may love Signature of All Things more than most because I’m a scientist and it is so rare to find a book that includes accurate, informative science. I think Signature will stay with me for a long time, but I do agree I wouldn’t be surprised to see it left off the long list. I’m keeping my fingers crossed though!

          I look forward to seeing which books you select tomorrow :-)

  12. Booker Man says:

    @Booker_Man at https://twitter.com/Booker_Man now includes my ManBooker2014 pre-longlist.

    In The Approaches by Nicola Barker
    Glow by Ned Beauman
    All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
    Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
    The Lie by Helen Dunmore
    The Circle by David Eggers
    The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
    The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
    Fallout by Sadie Jones
    The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
    A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride
    The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
    The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane
    All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu
    The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
    The Thrill of it All by Joseph O’Connor
    In The Light of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahman
    The Lives of Stella Bain by Anita Shreve
    The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
    Mrs Sinclair’s Suitcase by Louise Walters
    The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
    Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood

    What do ‘you’ think?

    1. Jackie says:

      Booker Man, Interesting list! I’ve read about half of them and think a good number will appear on the longlist. I didn’t think that Frog Music, The Lie, The Invention of Wings or The Night Guest are good enough, but the Booker jury frequently make choices I think are odd! I’m looking forward to seeing what is selected.

  13. Darryl Boswell says:

    I found Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas a truly memorable read, most certainly deserving of a place on the longlist. And The Farm by Tom Rob Smith was also an exciting find.

    1. Jackie says:

      Darryl, I wasn’t a fan of Barracuda (but I loved The Slap) but I know a lot of people are impressed by it, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it included.

      I haven’t read The Farm, but I loved Child 44 so will do at some point. It is always nice to have different genres on the longlist :-)

  14. WCarp says:

    I’m so happy to see someone making predictions. People seem to be reluctant to post any guesses due to the rule changes and that’s no fun! But I admit I am a little miffed by the US possibilities. I’ve discovered a few that I thought could be strong contenders are not actually ineligible because, although they appear to be available in the UK, they aren’t actually published by a UK publisher – for example Francine Prose’ Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 (her best work since Guided Tours of Hell.)

    I haven’t read all the books on your list. There are several that I agree with and I think are definite possibilities. Galgut, Hensher and Hustvedt certainly seem strong enough for recognition.

    For me, I liked Tsiolkas’ Barracuda. I also liked Neel Mukherjee’s The Lives of Others (I don’t think it is being considered by anyone though, so I must be so very far off track, although the reviews were very good.) The book that most impressed me was Zia Haider Rahman’s In the Light of What We Know and am really hoping to see it on the list.

    1. Jackie says:

      WCarp, Yes, I agree with your selections. I hadn’t heard of In Light of What We Know until last week, but Booker discussions have brought it to my attention so I plan to read it whether it is longlisted for the prize or not.

      I don’t think you’re off track with the Mukherjee. I haven’t read it, but have heard good things about it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it there at all.

  15. WCarp says:

    oops, correction: …discovered a few that I thought could be strong contenders are not actually eligible (not ineligible)

  16. Lizzy Siddal says:

    I’d like to see Tim Winton, Sebastian Barry and Maggie Gee on the list this year. I suspect Eimear McBride will figure too.

    1. Jackie says:

      Lizzy, I don’t think McBride is eligible, but the other three are strong contenders. Tim Winton is especially likely to be there. I look forward to seeing what is selected :-)

  17. I think you made some great picks and I’d echo a few that other commenters made (I just finished Em and the Big Hoom), especially All the Light We Cannot see, which I thought was absolutely brilliant. I’m not sure when it came out in the UK (it was an early release here in the US this year), but I would love to see All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld on the list too.

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