The Man Booker and the Not the Booker Prize 2016

Today the Man Booker Prize announced its longlist of 13 books, which you can find here.


I’ve not read any of the books on this year’s longlist, so can’t offer any comment on their relative merit.  But I did immediately notice the absence of Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things, which made me sad.

However, I have a means to remedy this! The Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize 2016 gives us all a chance to champion our own favourite book of the year.

In the spirit of Guardian-style egalitarianism:

  • anyone can nominate any book that would be eligible for this year’s Man Booker prize – novels originally written in English, by writers of any nationality, published in the UK between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016.
  • anyone can vote for two of their favourite books which will create a shortlist.
  • once there’s a shortlist, Guardian folk will read each book in turn and post reviews inviting ‘further discussion, debate, and ideally a bit of praise and a lot of love’ from anyone.
  • then they make their final vote, in combination with a panel of judges. Importantly, anyone can be a judge, provided they ‘contribute thoughts and opinions on a healthy proportion of the books that make it on to our shortlist over the next few months’.  Previous judges have posted comments on how much fun it all was.

The winning author then receives a shiny Guardian mug.

So, are in you in?  What will you be championing for the Not the Booker Prize 2016?



This is a site about books and about tea, and how we should read more books and drink more tea. Sometimes, it's hard to know what books to read and what tea to drink. This is where I can help out.


  1. I don’t think I’ll participate – time! – but it sounds intriguing and I’ll follow the shortlisting. At least with it, it’ll be books people have actually had a chance to read, unlike the actual Booker where several haven’t even been published yet. Thanks for highlighting it! 🙂

  2. I haven’t read any of them either. I’ve only heard of Coetzee and Kennedy, as well. I’m sad that The Natural Way of Things isn’t on there, too. The Guardian’s reviewer liked it, so worth nominating.

  3. I second your thoughts on The Natural Way of Things – thought it may have snuck in.

    In so far as this year’s list, I’ve read Eileen and Lucy Barton – both very good books for very different reasons but I’m not sure that they’re Booker winners.

  4. Don’t despair! I’m pretty sure The Natural Way of Things is eligible for next year’s prize, considering its UK publication date.

  5. Do you think the Not so Booker prize books are more ‘accessible’ as they’re nominated by the general popl? I love a book prize endorsement but have found the booker prize books a bit hard going 50% of the time

    • That’s a hard one. I’ve only read one from the current Not the Booker Prize list – I’ve kept an eye on the reviews though and they do look quite intense. it’s hard to say though. And I’ve really loved some of the Booker Prize winner, like Richard Flanagan’s Narrow Road to the Deep North. I totally loved that book. At though least the voting process is more transparent and democratic.

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