Scottish writer Graeme Macrae Burnet’s story of murder in a 19th-century crofting community has beaten novels by some of literature’s biggest names on to a shortlist for the Man Booker Prize that judges said “take[s] risks with language and form”.I haven’t yet read Burnet’s yarn (it’s not due out in the States until October), but it has certainly scored a lot of buzz since it was longlisted for this year’s Man Booker in July. It’s nice to see a work of historical crime fiction recognized in such a big way. Especially nice to see it paired in this contest with Moshfegh’s noirish Eileen
Burnet’s His Bloody Project, published by tiny independent Scottish press Saraband, is one of six titles to be shortlisted for this year’s £50,000 prize. The judges, chaired by Amanda Foreman, overlooked major writers on the longlist including Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee, Costa winner A.L. Kennedy and Pulitzer winner Elizabeth Strout, to choose titles including Burnet’s His Bloody Project and a debut novel from the American writer Ottessa Moshfegh, the psychological thriller Eileen.
The victor in this year’s Man Booker Prize competition will be announced on October 25.
FOLLOW-UP: Speaking of unexpected award contenders, I should note that poet-novelist Steven Price’s forthcoming historical mystery, By Gaslight, has won a place on the longlist for Canada’s 2016 Giller Prize. The shortlist for that commendation is expected to be broadcast on September 26, with the winner to be declared on November 7.