Australia’s Carey Shortlisted for Booker Prize Record

Peter Carey could scoop the Booker Prize for a record third time after the Australian author was named on the shortlist this week for one of the world’s most prestigious literary awards.

His novel Parrot and Olivier in America is among six books nominated for the prize, with South Africa’s Damon Galgut, Ireland’s Emma Donoghue and three British authors providing the competition.

“It’s been a great privilege and an exciting challenge for us to reduce our longlist of 13 to this shortlist of six outstandingly good novels,” said Andrew Motion, Britain’s former poet laureate who chairs the judges.

“In doing so, we feel sure we’ve chosen books which demonstrate a rich variety of styles and themes – while in every case providing deep individual pleasures.”

Carey is one of only two authors to have won the prize twice: in 1988 for Oscar and Lucinda and 2001 for True History of the Kelly Gang.

This year’s winner will be announced on October 12 at the Guildhall in London.

One of the highest-profile awards in English language literature, the annual Booker Prize goes to the best work of fiction by an author from the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland or Zimbabwe.

Contenders must have been published in the past year and originally written in English.

The prize comes with a winner’s cheque for £50,000 (US$77,000) and all but guarantees worldwide readership and an upsurge in book sales.

Parrot and Olivier in America is an improvisation on the life of French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville, and a portrait of the impossible friendship between master and servant.

Cape Town resident Galgut earned his second nomination with In a Strange Room, a novel of longing and thwarted desire, rage and compassion, an evocation of one man’s search for love and for a place to call home.

At 40, Dubliner Donoghue is the youngest nominee as she makes her first shortlist. Her book Room is about a mother and five-year-old son whose love holds them together.

The three British writers are also making their Booker shortlist debuts.

The Finkler Question, by the twice-longlisted Howard Jacobson, is a story of friendship and loss surrounding a BBC radio producer, a philosopher and their old teacher.

Andrea Levy, who achieved international success with Small Island, calls on her Jamaican background with The Long Song, the tale of a sugar plantation worker in the last years of slavery.

Tom McCarthy’s C follows a man who is transfixed by the electric technology of the early 20th century, which will eventually obliterate him.

Last year’s winner was British author Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. It has since sold more than half a million copies in Britain alone.

Previous winners of the Booker Prize include Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, two-time winner J. M. Coetzee, Iris Murdoch, William Golding, V. S. Naipaul, Thomas Keneally and Kingsley Amis.

Booker Prize Shortlist:

Peter Carey - Parrot and Olivier in America
Emma Donoghue - Room
Damon Galgut - In a Strange Room
Howard Jacobson - The Finkler Question
Andrea Levy - The Long Song
Tom McCarthy - C
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