Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Booker longlist predictions

Last year, my predictions were dismal. I managed to get just two out of thirteen; a bad return considering the year before I'd got eight of the longlist.

This year is in some ways easier than last - a fair few big hitters are out, while some less familiar names have delivered interesting and prize-worthy novels - but in other ways more difficult. Will the judges feel able to go for two big London novels (NW and Capital), for example? Will the old guard, so conspicuous by their absence until the winner was announced last year, return to claim the prize for their own? Or is there a sneaking up of interesting, yet not exactly new, writers ready to displace them?

Personally, I think it's an incredibly strong year, and one that might lead to an unusual list, but probably won't. For what it's worth, here's my prediction - not necessarily what I would like to see on there, but what I think will make the cut. I hope it's a bit closer than last time - though not perfect, obviously.

1. Ancient Light – John Banville

2. The Yipps – Nicola Barker

3. Toby’s Room – Pat Barker

4. The Big Music – Kirsty Gunn

5. All is Song – Samantha Harvey

6. In the Orchard, The Swallows – Peter Hobbs

7. Capital – John Lanchester

8. Bringing Up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel

9. John Saturnall's Feast – Lawrence Norfolk

10. Hawthorn & Child – Keith Ridgeway

11. NW – Zadie Smith

12. Merivel – Rose Tremain

13. The Deadman’s Pedal – Alan Warner


  1. We share 3 books (Merivel, All is Song and Bring Out the Bodies) I agree that it is a very strong year for the Booker and I hope that means the longlist will be very strong, containing none of the weird selections of previous years. It will be interesting to see what they select.

  2. Hi Jackie

    Good call on Perlman and Narcopolis. I'm writing a blog piece for We Love Books on the titles I really want to be on there...

  3. Haven't read any of these but when I read Josipovici's Infinity for the third time, I thought I wouldn't read a better novel all year. Have read two that are as good, but both ineligible for this prize.

  4. Hi Stephen - I haven't read the Josipivici yet, but would dearly love to see him on the list... I'm just not sure it'll happen this year.

  5. So, 2 out of 12. Two. That's even worse than last year. And you can hardly count getting Mantel right...

    Interesting list though.