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On the Books: Americans appear on Man Booker shortlist for first time

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Man Booker Prize

The shortlist of contenders for the United Kingdom’s prestigious Man Booker Prize, announced today, includes American authors Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler among the unprecedentedly multinational selection. The competition—which until this year was only open to citizens of the the U.K., U.K. Commonwealth, Ireland, and Zimbabwe—considered writers from any country, as long as they were published in English in the United Kingdom. Here is the list in full:

Joshua Ferris (U.S.), To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)

Richard Flanagan (Australian), The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus)

Karen Joy Fowler (U.S.), We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent’s Tail)

Howard Jacobson (British), J (Jonathan Cape)

Neel Mukherjee (British), The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)

Ali Smith (British), How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton)

Despite fears of British authors being shut out by American literary powerhouses, Brits still dominated the competition, nabbing three of the six spots on the shortlist. AC Grayling, chair of the judges, said the selection is “a strong, thought-provoking shortlist which we believe demonstrates the wonderful depth and range of contemporary fiction in English.” The winner of the $80,000 award will be announced in London on Oct. 14. [NPR]

Rolling Stones legend Keith Richards’ children’s book, Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar, hits shelves today. Published by Little, Brown and illustrated by Richards’ daughter Theodora, the book is about Richards’ childhood memories of jazz-musician grandfather Gus, who shared his love for music and London with a young Keith. [USA Today]

Publishers Weekly conducted an informal poll of more than 20 independent bookstores, finding that despite earlier predictions, most of the stores enjoyed a successful summer. Though overall book sales fell nearly 8 percent in the first half of 2014, PW‘s poll shows that many small booksellers saw a surge in sales over the last quarter. Storeowners attribute part of the increase to the Hachette-Amazon feud—Powell’s Books of Portland, Ore., for example, received 10,000 pre-orders for Edan Lepucki’s California after getting a mention on The Colbert Report.

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