Folio Season #7.5: The Shortlist

The eight titles shortlisted for the Folio Prize were announced today. They are:

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
10:04 by Ben Lerner
Nora Webster by Colm Toibin
Outline by Rachel Cusk
How to be both by Ali Smith
Family Life by Akhil Sharma
Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

I’m delighted to see so many of the books I’ve loved (and predicted as shortlistees!) appear here, and pleased too that there are a couple I haven’t read yet, Nora Webster and Outline. Also gratified that none of the titles I’ve thought on no account deserved to be shortlisted have been! It’s an exciting shortlist, one that rewards formal innovation (in Smith’s and Lerner’s books in particular, and in Cusk’s too, I believe) and is as diverse as you’d hope an eight-book prize list in 2015 would be. Slightly surprising is that there are no short story collections shortlisted, but the presence of a couple of debut novelists is very pleasing. It’s left me intrigued to read the remainder of the longlistees — there are bound to be some among the 30+ still to go that I’ll wish had been on this list…

Links above are to my existing reviews of these books (one or two very brief — if there’s time, I’d like to revisit How to be both and Family Life, both of which I read some time ago now). Dust will be one of the titles I look at in my next weekly Folio Season roundup, due this Friday.

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