A Spell of Good Things by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry
Study for Obedience by Sarah Bernstein
If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery
How to Build a Boat by Elaine Feeney
This Other Eden by Paul Harding
Pearl by Siân Hughes
All the Little Bird-Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow
Prophet Song by Paul Lynch
In Ascension by Martin MacInnes
Western Lane by Chetna Maroo
The Bee Sting by Paul Murray
The House of Doors by Tan Twan Eng
I correctly guessed two out of the 13 titles in my predictions post last month – ‘Old God’s Time’ by Sebastian Barry which is the Irish author’s fifth nomination and ‘The House of Doors’ by Tan Twan Eng. I’ve had copies of Tan’s two other novels on my Kindle for several years, so perhaps it’s time for me to finally read those.
Ten of the authors recognised this year have been longlisted for the first time, four of which are debut novelists. ‘All the Little Bird-Hearts’ by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow about an autistic woman and her teenage daughter sounds particularly intriguing, as does ‘Western Lane’ by Chetna Maroo about a young girl coping with grief and channelling it through sport.
As well as Barry, three other Irish authors have made the cut, although sadly not ‘Soldier Sailor’ by Claire Kilroy. I have also been meaning to read ‘Skippy Dies’ by Paul Murray for some time, and ‘As You Were’ by Elaine Feeney has been widely recommended too, so at the moment this longlist is mostly prompting me to look at the nominated author’s backlists as well as their most recent work.
The shortlist will be announced on Thursday 21 September. What are your thoughts on this year’s longlist?