Brow Beat

The Man Booker Prize Longlist Includes a Graphic Novel for the First Time Ever

The cover of Sabrina by Nick Drnaso.
Sabrina by Nick Drnaso. Drawn & Quarterly

For the first time ever, the longlist for the U.K.’s most prestigious literary award includes a graphic novel. Sabrina, written by a first-time contender for the Man Booker Prize, Nick Drnaso, follows the effects of a 24-hour news cycle after the disappearance of a young woman. The graphic novel was chosen while past Man Booker prize winners, including authors Julian Barnes, Alan Hollinghurst, Pat Barker, and Peter Carey, were passed over for this year’s list.

Drnaso is in the running for Man Booker’s 50,000 pound prize, equivalent to more than $65,000, alongside Richard Powers, a Pulitzer finalist for his 2007 novel, The Echo Maker, and Michael Ondaatje, the only previous winner of the Booker Prize to make the list. One of the judges, Val McDermid, spoke to the Guardian in praise of Sabrina.

“We all read it and were blown away by it,” said the best-selling crime author. “The graphic novel has increasingly become front and center in terms of storytelling [and] we felt [Sabrina] does just what good fiction should do.”

Another graphic novelist, Leanne Shapton, also sits on this year’s panel of judges. Shapton’s most recent work, Important Artifacts and Personal Property From the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, has recently been in talks for a movie adaptation starring Brad Pitt and Natalie Portman.

The Man Booker shortlist will be available on Sept. 20, and the winner will be announced on Oct. 16.