Between the seven members, there has been frequent agreement and disagreement over what constitutes a good novel, a winning novel or even just a novel, in the case of Mr Brown’s choice, “All That Man Is”. We have noticed the balanced nature of the six works in terms of the authors’ and protagonists’ genders, the time-frame and geographical locations of the novels, and the writers’ ages and nationalities. It is also the shortest shortlist, in terms of pages, in the history of the prize, which has allowed some of our number to read more than one of the novels.
Our collective favourites are 19th-century murder mystery “His Bloody Project”, historical novel “Do Not Say We Have Nothing”, contemporary US satire “The Sell-Out” and depiction of 20th-century early adulthood “Eileen”. We would be disappointed if either of the others were to win, but we do have a record of mispredicting the winner, so wouldn’t be too surprised!