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Man Booker Shortlist 2013: Women lead the list

10th Sep 2013

The Man Booker Prize 2013
Women make up four out of the six shortlist places - not that the press has noticed.

Hell yeah! The Man Booker Prize 2013 shortlist was announced earlier today and it upholds the longlist weighting. Four out of the judges’ six-strong selection are women.

As the BBC and Guardian are doing a truly magnificent job of trivialising their place on the list alongside Colm Tóibin and Jim Crace, (who we congratulate on the understanding that ALL of the shortlisters are deserving,) we’d like to step in to big up the incredible talent of NoViolet Bulawayo, Eleanor Catton, Jhumpa Lahiri and Ruth Ozeki.

there's a power house of women’s literature on the listThe diversity of this year’s entrants has also been honoured, showcasing the breadth of English language fiction currently being written. Japanese/American Ozeki has drawn upon her mixed heritage in A Tale for the Time Being, while NoViolet Bulawayo evokes her Zimbabwean roots in her debut, We Need New Names.

Born in England, raised in Rhode Island, Lahiri’s The Lowland is born of the experiences of her Bengali parents, while Catton, whose family returned to New Zealand from Canada after she was born, explores the 19th Century goldfields of the antipodes in The Luminaries.

If these rich settings haven’t already convinced you that there’s a power house of women’s literature on the list, here’s a few more reasons why we’re in awe:

Bulawayo stands with her first novel on the shortlist just three years out of her MFA; in addition to writing prize-worthy fiction, Ozeki makes documentary films and was ordained as a Zen Buddhist priest in 2010; and Catton is just 28 years-old – making her the youngest shortlister in the prize’s history.

With the four novels covering the 1967 Nazalite uprising, biculturalism, astrology, the pull between intellectualism and motherhood, a Hello Kitty lunchbox full of letters, poverty and lawlessness in the African ghetto and an 105 year-old anarchist-feminist nun, there’s just one question that begs to be asked.

What exactly do these four women have to do to make it onto a BBC News tweet?