Julian Barnes, Sebastian Barry and bookies favourite Alan Hollinghurst are seen by the trade as the Man Booker Prize for Fiction frontrunners after the longlist was revealed on Tuesday (26th July).
The indie-heavy list has attracted general approval, with nine out of the 13 titles from independent houses contending for the £50,000 prize. Bookmaker William Hill predicted Alan Hollinghurst to win for a second time with The Stranger’s Child (Picador), offering odds of 5/1.
Ladbrokes yesterday (27th July) installed D J Taylor as its 4/1 favourite for Derby Day (Chatto). Stephen Kelman's Pigeon English (Bloomsbury) is second favourite at 5/1 with Hollinghurst third at 6/1 along with Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending (Jonathan Cape). Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes said: "Derby Day is a worthy favourite and would be a topical winner. It's a strong field and there's a good chance we see a first-time listed winner in Kelman."
Foyles senior buyer Jasper Sutcliffe said: "At Foyles we love to champion independent publishers and independent thinking, so to see that recognised by Man Booker is incredibly exciting. There are great sales opportunities throughout the list, along with the potential to create new literary stars."
Sphere associate publisher Daniel Mallory said: "I don’t know if this indicates a predisposition amongst the nominating committee or whether indies are simply producing more Booker-friendly titles, but it’s a notable, and notably disproportionate, statistic." He added there could be joy in store for the three time Man Booker bridesmaid. He said: "This does feel to me like Barnes’ year."
Gardners senior buyer Geoff Briley said: "Almost regardless of who the authors will be, we have seen an instant pick-up on all the titles, which we expected but it has been pretty quick."
The 11 published titles of the "dozen" have sold 34,296 copies to date through Nielsen BookScan, with Hollinghurst’s novel making up almost half with sales of 16,700. Next in line is A D Miller's Snowdrops (Atlantic), with sales of 5,866 and Pigeon English at 5,659.
Scottish indie Sandstone Press has already seen an "immediate surge in sales".
Author Rogers commented on The Bookseller website: "Until yesterday’s longlist announcement, I thought it was likely to sink without trace, since it had only three reviews, and was barely visible in bookshops. This longlisting means it will be read—I am deeply grateful to the judges."
Seren Books, Sandstone Press and Oneworld are readying e-book versions and reprints of the longlisted titles.
This year’s shortlist will be revealed on 6th September, and the winner on 18th October.
The Ladbroke odds in full:
D.J. Taylor - Derby Day - 4/1
Stephen Kelman - Pigeon English - 5/1
Alan Hollinghurst - The Stranger’s Child - 6/1
Julian Barnes -The Sense of an Ending - 6/1
Sebastian Barry - On Canaan’s Side - 7/1
Carol Birch - Jamrach’s Menagerie - 8/1
Yvvette Edwards - A Cupboard Full of Coats - 12/1
Patrick McGuinness - The Last Hundred Days - 14/1
Alison Pick - Far to Go - 14/1
Esi Edugyan - Half Blood Blues - 14/1
Patrick deWitt - The Sisters Brothers - 14/1
A.D. Miller - Snowdrops - 16/1
Jane Rogers - The Testament of Jessie Lamb - 16/1