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2012 Man Booker Prize longlist announced

25th July 2012

The longlist for the 2012 Man Booker Prize has been announced, with 12 titles in contention for the GBP 50,000 prize, which is regarded as one of the most important literary awards in the world in terms of exposure.

This year's longlist is one of the most wide-ranging in recent years, with many established authors overlooked in favour of emerging literary talent as the judges sought to restore the faith some people had lost in the award.

The 2012 candidates include former winner Hilary Mantel, who triumphed in 2009 with Wolf Hall and will be hoping to do the same in 2012 with her latest novel Bring Up the Bodies.

Few of the other contenders have flirted with Booker success, though Michael Frayn, who was shortlisted in 1999 for Headlong, is in contention this year with Skios, while Nicola Barker, who made the final six in 2007 with Darkmans before ultimately losing out to Anne Enright's The Gathering, is also nominated in 2012 with The Yips.

South African author Andre Brink has been longlisted for the first time since 1978 and the 77-year-old will be hoping that his latest book Philida fares better than Rumours of Rain, which was shortlisted 34 years ago before falling at the final hurdle.

The youngest author on the longlist, Ned Beauman, was not even born when Brink was last nominated, but will be hoping that his own work, The Teleportation Accident, helps him become the youngest ever winner of the award at 27.

Four debut authors have made the 2012 longlist, including Rachel Joyce, who was shortlisted for this year's Desmond Elliott Prize for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

She is joined on the Man Booker longlist by Sam Thompson (Communion Town), Jeet Thayil (Narcopolis) and Alison Moore (The Lighthouse).

One of the more established names on the list is Will Self, a former winner of the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, who will be looking to land by far the biggest literary award of his career with his ninth novel, Umbrella.

The 2012 longlist is completed by Deborah Levy's Swimming Home, the author's first novel since 2004's acclaimed Pillow Talk in Europe and Other Places, and The Garden of Evening Mists by Malaysian writer Tan Twan Eng.

This year's contenders were whittled down from a total of 145 titles by a judging panel chaired by Sir Peter Stothard and also including literary critic Dinah Birch, historian Amanda Foreman, actor Dan Stevens and academic Bharat Tandon.

Sir Peter said that 'goodness, madness and bewildering urban change' are among the themes of this year's longlist and stressed that the panel was favouring novels over novelists and texts over reputations in 2012.

'Who published a book, and indeed even the author, is of very little concern to Man Booker judges,' he explained.

'In an extraordinary year for fiction, the Man Booker Dozen proves the grip that the novel has on our world. We did not set out to reject the old guard but, after a year of sustained critical argument by a demanding panel of judges, the new has come powering through.'

The judges will now get to work on drawing up a shortlist of six books, which will be announced on Tuesday September 11th, with each of the authors receiving GBP 2,500.

The winner of the 2012 Man Booker Prize will then be announced at London's Guildhall on Tuesday October 16th.

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