Elizabeth Strout, Karen Joy Fowler and Leila Mottley are among six American authors nominated for this years Booker Prize, which announced its nominees in a news release Tuesday.
Strout, the highest-profile author on the 13-strong list, is nominated for Oh William!, a novel about a grief-stricken woman who helps her ex-husband investigate his family past; Fowler, for Booth, a fictional family portrait of the clan of Abraham Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth; and Mottley, for Nightcrawling, a bestseller about a desperate Black teenager in California who ends up in a sex-trafficking ring.
The other Americans nominated are Hernan Diaz for Trust, Selby Wynn Schwartz for After Sappho, and Percival Everett for The Trees.
The Booker Prize, one of the worlds most prestigious literary awards, is given each year to the author of a novel written in English and published in Britain or Ireland. It is well known for capping literary careers and making new stars, with recent winners including Margaret Atwood, Bernardine Evaristo and Douglas Stuart.
Before 2014, the prize was only open to authors from Britain, Ireland, the Commonwealth and Zimbabwe, but since that year, when it expanded to include authors of any nationality, Britains literary establishment has regularly agonized over the dominance of American authors on the Booker list. Tuesdays announcement is likely to reinvigorate those concerns, although the nominees also include three British and two Irish authors, as well as NoViolet Bulawayo, from Zimbabwe, and Shehan Karunatilaka, of Sri Lanka.
The British writers on the list include Alan Garner, 87, who the Booker says is its oldest-ever nominee, and who is well known in Britain as a pioneering author of childrens fantasy novels in the 1960s and 1970s.
The nominated novels are wildly diverse in subject matter. Bulawayo is nominated for Glory, an animal fable that follows the fall of a dictatorship; Maddie Mortimer is nominated for Maps of our Spectacular Bodies, a novel whose narrators include both a dying mother and the cancer that is killing her.
Neil MacGregor, the former director of the British Museum and the chair of this years judges, highlighted that variety in a news release announcing the nominees, saying the books included story, fable and parable, fantasy, meditation and thriller. Nevertheless, he said, two main themes were apparent: how individual lives are shaped and determined by long historical processes, and the elusive nature of truth.
The extent to which we can trust the word, spoken or written, is in many of these books the real subject, MacGregor said.
The Booker judges, who also include critic Shahidha Bari and novelist Alain Mabanckou, will now reread all the nominated books before whittling the selection to a six-title shortlist, scheduled to be announced Sept. 6. The winning novel, whose author will receive a prize of 50,000 pounds, or about $60,000, will be announced Oct. 17 at a ceremony in London.
The full longlist is:
NoViolet Bulawayo, Glory
Hernan Diaz, Trust
Percival Everett, The Trees
Karen Joy Fowler, Booth
Alan Garner, Treacle Walker
Shehan Karunatilaka, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida
Claire Keegan, Small Things Like These
Graeme Macrae Burnet, Case Study
Audrey Magee, The Colony
Maddie Mortimer, Maps of our Spectacular Bodies
Leila Mottley, Nightcrawling
Selby Wynn Schwartz, After Sappho
Elizabeth Strout, Oh William!
This article originally appeared in The New York Times