Founded in 1969, the Booker Prize has a reputation for transforming writers’ careers and was originally open to British, Irish and Commonwealth writers. Eligibility was expanded in 2014 to all novels in English published in the U.K.
The judging panel winnowed their list from 158 novels. Some of the highest-profile novels of the year didn’t make the cut, most notably Nobel literature laureate Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Klara and the Sun,” which had featured on the 13-book longlist. Ishiguro is a four-time Booker nominee and won the prize in 1989 for “The Remains of the Day.”
Other highly praised works on the longlist that fell by the wayside include British novelist Francis Spufford’s “Light Perpetual” and British/Canadian writer Rachel Cusk’s “Second Place.”
Only one British writer, Mohamed, made the final six, a fact likely to spark debate in the U.K. about whether the prize is becoming U.S.-dominated.
“The Booker Prize is the great leveler,” said Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma, one of the judges. “If we don’t have any British writers, it is just a coincidence. We are not making any statement.”
The winner will be crowned Nov. 3 at a ceremony in London.