Man Booker prize: Neel Mukherjee tipped to prevent first American win

Odds stacked against US novelists Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler, as shortlisted authors wait for announcement of winner: The Guardian

Neel Mukherjee, author of The Lives of Others.
Neel Mukherjee, author of The Lives of Others. Photograph: David Levenson/Getty Images

The US novelists Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler will have to beat the odds if one of them is to become the first American winner of the Man Booker prize, to be announced on Tuesday night in London.

For the first time, the £50,000 prize is open to any author writing originally in English and published in the UK, but Ferris’s book, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, described as a New York tale of existential dentistry, and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Fowler, a tale of family life where a psychologist father twins his daughter with a chimp, are the bookmakers’ outsiders.

Previously, the prize was open to authors from the UK and Commonwealth countries, the Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe, but the organisers decided to throw it open for 2014 after 45 years.

Announcing that decision, Jonathan Taylor, chairman of the Booker Prize Foundation, said: “We are embracing the freedom of English in its versatility, in its vigour, in its vitality and in its glory, wherever it may be. We are abandoning the constraints of geography and national boundaries.”

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