By David Canfield
July 23, 2018 at 08:11 PM EDT
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Credit: Scribner; Knopf; Macmillan

Nick Drnaso’s critically acclaimed graphic novel Sabrina has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the most prestigious literary prize in Britain. Sabrina’s inclusion on the list is a significant moment of literary recognition for a graphic novel — and its win would mark a breakthrough for the form as hasn’t been seen in decades.

Sabrina has received rave reviews for its visually innovative and narratively ambitious exploration of the modern American state, dubbed “the best book ― in any medium ― I have read about our current moment” by Zadie Smith. It traces the impact of one woman’s disappearance from various angles, revealing a culture devoid of responsibility and the dangers of a fake-news climate.

The Man Booker Prize honors the best in English-language literature, with American writers winning it for two consecutive years: Paul Beatty (The Sellout) and George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo). This year’s longlist includes a majority of women; no woman has won the prize since 2013 (Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries).

Among the names on this year’s longlist with books already out in the U.S. include two-time National Book Award nominee Rachel Kushner, for The Mars Room; former Man Booker Prize winner (and newly-named Golden Man Booker Prize recipient) Michael Ondaatje, for Warlight; and Belinda Bauer, for her suspense novel Snap.

Several of the books cited have been published elsewhere but remain eagerly awaited in the U.S. Those generating the most hype (and cementing it with these mentions) are Washington Black (Sept. 18), Esi Edugyan’s explosive novel about “a boy who rises from the ashes of slavery to become a free man of the world;” Anna Burns’ unnerving Milkman (Dec. 4); and Normal People (April 16, 2019), the latest from Conversations With Friends breakout Sally Rooney.

The shortlist for the 2018 Man Booker Prize will be announced in September, and the recipient will be named shortly thereafter. Check out the full list below:

Longlist for the 2018 Man Booker Prize

  • Belinda Bauer, Snap
  • Anna Burns, Milkman
  • Nick Drnaso, Sabrina
  • Esi Edugyan, Washington Black
  • Guy Gunaratne, In Our Mad and Furious City
  • Daisy Johnson, Everything Under
  • Rachel Kushner, The Mars Room
  • Sophie Mackintosh, The Water Cure
  • Michael Ondaatje, Warlight
  • Richard Powers, The Overstory
  • Robin Robertson, The Long Take
  • Sally Rooney, Normal People
  • Donal Ryan, From a Low and Quiet Sea