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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 19 August 2018

The Man Booker prize longlist has been announced and includes a graphic novel 

Nick Drnaso's graphic novel is one of 13 titles competing for the £50,000 (Dh240,800) prize 

Sri Lankan-born Canadian novelist, poet and former Booker Prize-winner Michael Ondaatje was one of the authors named on this year's Man Booker longlist. Manish Swarup / AP photo
Sri Lankan-born Canadian novelist, poet and former Booker Prize-winner Michael Ondaatje was one of the authors named on this year's Man Booker longlist. Manish Swarup / AP photo

The Man Booker prize longlist has been announced and includes – for the first time – a graphic novel.

Nick Drnaso’s Sabrina, which tells the story of a missing girl in the age of 24-hour news, is one of 13 titles competing for the £50,000 (Dh240,800) prize.

“Given the changing shape of fiction, it was only a matter of time before a graphic novel was included on the Man Booker [prize] longlist,” the judges said. “Sabrina makes demands on the reader in precisely the way all good fiction does.”

Nick Drnaso’s graphic novel Sabrina is one of 13 titles competing for the Man Booker prize 
Nick Drnaso’s graphic novel Sabrina is one of 13 titles competing for the Man Booker prize 

A number of big-name authors, including Julian Barnes, Peter Carey and Alan Hollinghurst, have been overlooked in favour of stylistically experimental novels such as poet Robin Robertson’s debut The Long Take, which mixes verse and prose, and Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black, which the judges described as “extremely imaginative”.

Three other debut novels – The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh; In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne; and Everything Under by Daisy Johnson – also made the list. At 27, Johnson is the joint youngest author on the list, alongside Sally Rooney, who wrote Normal People, a “very intimate character study of two young people trying to figure out how to love each other”.

Michael Ondaatje is the only previous winner to have made the list. Warlight, Ondaatje’s seventh novel, follows two siblings abandoned by their parents in the aftermath of the Second World War. It was described by the judges as “wonderfully atmospheric, beautifully paced, subtle storytelling”.

Chair of the judges Kwame Anthony Appiah said: “All of these books – which take in slavery, ecology, missing persons, inner-city violence, young love, prisons, trauma, race – capture something about a world on the brink.

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“Among their many remarkable qualities is a willingness to take risks with form. And we were struck, overall, by their disruptive power: these novels disrupted the way we thought about things we knew about, and made us think about things we didn’t know about.”

There are only three American authors on the list, which will please critics of the decision in 2014 to open the prize up to authors from outside the UK and Commonwealth. Following this decision, two winners – Paul Beatty and George Saunders – have been from the United States.

The judging panel, chaired by Appiah, is made up of Val McDermid, Leo Robson, Jacqueline Rose and Leanne Shapton.

The shortlist will be announced on September 20, and the winner on October 16.

The Man Booker prize longlist in full

Snap by Belinda Bauer (UK)

Milkman by Anna Burns (UK)

Sabrina by Nick Drnaso (USA)

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (Canada)

In Our Mad And Furious City by Guy Gunaratne (UK)

Everything Under by Daisy Johnson (UK)

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner (USA)

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh (UK)

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Canada)

The Overstory by Richard Powers (USA)

The Long Take by Robin Robertson (UK)

Normal People by Sally Rooney (Ireland)

From A Low And Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan (Ireland)

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