Two major literary awards –the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award — announced some unexpected results this week.

On Tuesday, Man Booker judges gave the coveted British award to 68-year-old Howard Jacobson for The Finkler Question. It’s the first comic novel to win the Man Booker since the inception of the prize 42 years ago. While many believe the award for Jacobson has been long in coming, The Finkler Question didn’t get as much “predicted winner” buzz as did Emma Donoghue’s Room and Tom McCarthy’s C.  

On Wednesday, the National Book Foundation listed its 20 finalists for the 2010 National Book Awards (NBA), and guess who’s missing among the fiction finalists? “National Book Awards Snub Jonathan Franzen,” reports the Guardian

Author Pat Conroy announced the Freedom-less 20 finalists in Flannery O’Connor’s Savannah, Georgia, childhood home. They include so many books I haven’t read, which is my big sigh every year when the finalists are announced. But that’s the beauty of the National Book Award selections: They’re unpredictable, bringing to the forefront impressive books deserving a wider audience. Last year, Bonnie Jo Campbell’s story collection American Salvage published by Wayne State University Press rose into the literary limelight as an NBA fiction candidate. This year, Karen Tei Yamashita’s novel about Asian-Americans published by Coffee House Press, I Hotel, similarly rises.

Here is the full list of 2010 National Book Award finalists in the four categories. Two of the books aren’t available yet: James Richardson’s By the Numbers is set for publication November 1, and Jaimy Gordon’s Lord of Misrule is to be published November 15. Unless the publishing houses release them earlier, the reading public doesn’t have access to them until a few days before the winner is announced, which will be November 17.

Peter Carey, Parrot and Olivier in America
Jaimy Gordon, Lord of Misrule
Nicole Krauss, Great House
Lionel Shriver, So Much for That
Karen Tei Yamashita, I Hotel

Barbara Demick, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
John W. Dower, Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, Iraq
Patti Smith, Just Kids
Justin Spring, Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward
Megan K. Stack, Every Man in This Village Is a Liar: An Education in War

Kathleen Graber, The Eternal City
Terrance Hayes, Lighthead
James Richardson, By the Numbers
CD Wright, One With Others
Monica Youn, Ignatz

Young people’s literature
Paolo Bacigalupi, Ship Breaker
Kathryn Erskine, Mockingbird
Laura McNeal, Dark Water
Walter Dean Myers, Lockdown
Rita Williams-Garcia, One Crazy Summer

Below are 13 novels that made the longlist for the United Kingdom’s 2010 Man Booker Prize. The shortlist will be announced on September 7. The award winner will be announced on October 12. Last year, Hilary Mantel won for Wolf Hall.

According to the Man Booker website, the prize, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2008, aims to reward the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.

One book on this year’s long list — The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas — is causing controversy. According to The Guardian: “…while some readers including, evidently, the Booker judges speak excitedly of the Australian author’s bravery in tackling uncomfortable truths, others criticise the word-of-mouth hit as ‘offensive’ and say it is full of ‘unbelievable misogyny’. The Slap is turning out to be the most divisive Booker novel in years.”

You can read an interview with Tsiolkas from the book’s linked title below.  Also below is the rest of the 2010 Booker longlist. The books are linked to websites offering more information. Or, you can go to the Man Booker web page that gathers the books with summaries in one place. Being this is a British prize, not all the books are published yet in the U.S.

Peter Carey: Parrot and Olivier in America
Published in the U.S. in April 2010 by Knopf Doubleday Publishing

Emma Donoghue: Room
Scheduled to be published in the U.S. in September 2010 by Little, Brown & Company

Helen Dunmore:  The Betrayal
Not scheduled for U.S. publication at this time

Damon Galgut: In a Strange Room
Scheduled to be published in the U.S. this month by McClelland & Stewart Ltd. (paperback)
Correction: In a Strange Room is not yet scheduled for publicaton in the U.S. McCelland & Stewart is a Canadian publisher.

Howard Jacobson: The Finkler Question
Not scheduled for U.S. publication at this time

Andrea Levy: The Long Song
Published in the U.S. in April 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Tom McCarthy: C
Scheduled to be published in the U.S. in September 2010 by Knopf

David Mitchell: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
Published in the U.S. in June 2010 by Random House

Lisa Moore: February
Published in the U.S. in February 2010 by Grove Press/Black Cat (paperback)

Paul Murray: Skippy Dies
Scheduled to be published in the U.S. end of this month by Faber & Faber

Rose Tremain: Trespass
Scheduled to be published in the U.S. October 2010 by W. W. Norton & Co.

Christos Tsiolkas: The Slap
Published in the U.S. in April 2010 by Penguin (paperback)

Alan Warner: The Stars in the Bright Sky
Not available at this time in the U.S.

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