For the first time in the Man Booker Prize’s 45 years, American writers are eligible to win the literary award. And Davis native Karen Joy Fowler has been long-listed for the prestigious British honor for her novel, “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves.”
Fowler won the PEN/Faulkner prize for fiction earlier this year for her novel about a 1970s Midwestern family with a most unusual sibling, which is set partly in Davis, Fowler’s hometown for nearly four decades.
Besides Fowler, four other U.S.-based writers are on the 13-book long-list for the Man Booker Prize, including Joshua Ferris, Siri Hustvedt and Richard Powers, as well as Irish-born, U.S-based writer Joseph O’Neill.
Also on the list are Britain’s Howard Jacobson, Neel Mukherjee, Paul Kingsnorth, David Mitchell, David Nicholls and Ali Smith, Ireland’s Niall Williams and Australia’s Richard Flanagan.
Fowler earned her master’s degree in political science from UC Davis in 1974, after completing her bachelor’s degree in the subject at UC Berkeley. She and her husband, Hugh, settled in Davis in 1972 and raised two children here, Shannon and Ryan, before moving more recently to Santa Cruz.
“I credit the Davis Arts Center and the people who happened to be in that writing class in 1980 with my career,” Fowler told The Enterprise in 2007.
A six-book shortlist for the 50,000-pound ($85,000) prize will be announced Sept. 9, and the winner unveiled at a ceremony in London on Oct. 14.
Another UCD graduate receiving literary acclaim is Stephan Eirik Clark whose novel, “Sweetness #9″ was touted on “The Colbert Report.”
First-time novelist Clark, who received an MA in creative writing from UCD in 2005, spent 13 years on the book, a comic satire about a flavorist who creates an artificial sweetener that becomes wildly popular despite many negative side effects.
Stephen Colbert has been having a very public battle with Amazon over the bookseller’s removal of the “pre-order” button for Hachette publications, Colbert’s publisher. In an attempt to show Amazon that his show could influence a book’s sales, he urged his audience last month to pre-order Hachette author Edan Lepucki’s novel, “California,” on independent sites.
Colbert’s ultimate goal, he explained on the show, was “to put ‘California’ on the New York Times best seller list, and thanks to you, nation, ‘California’ debuts at No. 3. We did it.”
Last week Colbert had author Lepucki on the show to choose another debut-author to promote, and she chose Clark and “Sweetness #9.”
According to the New York Times, Clark’s novel, which Little, Brown will release on Aug. 19, shot up to No. 3 on Powell’s Books’s best-seller list overnight. It was previously unranked. On Amazon, the book is listed as “currently unavailable.”
The Times article quotes Clark as “speechless” upon finding out his book would be Colbert’s next target.
“For her to single out the book and for him to give it all that attention, you can’t expect it, and when you get it, you’re not really sure what to think about it,” he said in an interview last week. “It’s a little bit surreal.”