A 27-year-old English novelist is the youngest author ever to be a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, one of the top literary prizes in the world.
Daisy Johnson is the author of "Everything Under," a retelling of the Greek myth of Oedipus set on the canals of Oxford, England. The book will be published in the United States on Oct. 23 by Graywolf Press.
The six works of fiction competing for the prize were announced Thursday in London. They include novels by two American writers, "The Mars Room," by Rachel Kushner and "The Overstory," by Richard Powers. "The Mars Room" follows the fate of a mother and former stripper incarcerated at a California correctional facility. "The Overstory" is an epic eco-novel about nine characters and their intense communication with trees.
Other finalists for the prize include "Milkman," by Anna Burns of the United Kingdom, about a young woman pursued by a paramilitary figure during the conflict in Northern Ireland; "Washington Black," by Esi Edugyan of Canada, about an 11-year-old enslaved boy on a 19th-century Barbadian sugar plantation; and "The Long Take," by Robin Robertson of the U.K., a novel in verse about a veteran of D-Day with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The winner, to be announced at a ceremony in London on Oct. 16, will receive about $70,000.
The Booker Prize, awarded annually since 1969 (it became the Man Booker Prize in 2002), recognizes fiction written in English from around the world. After 2013 the prize was opened to books outside the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries, provided they were published in the U.K. Since then, two American authors — Paul Beatty and George Saunders — have won the award, which confers international recognition and boosts book sales.
Other past winners include Salman Rushdie, Michael Ondaatje, Iris Murdoch and Hilary Mantel.