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Last Updated: Friday, 15 August, 2003, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Amis and Atwood lead Booker list
Margaret Atwood
Atwood won the Booker in 2000
Literary heavyweights Martin Amis and Margaret Atwood are leading the 23-strong longlist for this year's prestigious Booker prize.

Amis has been shortlisted for his novel Yellow Dog - not published for three weeks - while Atwood is recognised for her Orwellian tale Oryx and Crake.

Big-name authors such as JM Coetzee and Graham Swift have also been selected, despite speculation that top literary stars would miss out.

The 2003 Booker longlist in full

The longlist also includes rising talent such as Monica Ali, whose debut novel Brick Lane, about life in East London, has been widely praised.

Last year, Yann Martel won the prize for his novel The Life of Pi.

Booker prize-winner odds
J M Coetzee - 6/1 favourite
Martin Amis and Melvyn Bragg - joint 8/1
Margaret Atwood and Graham Swift - 10/1
Monica Ali; Carol Birch; Zoe Heller; Tim Parks; Caryl Phillips - 14/1
Barbara Gowdy; Shena Mackay; Julie Myerson - 16/1

Issued by William Hill

A shortlist for the 2003 prize will be announced on 16 September.

The winner of the 50,000 award will be announced on 14 October at a ceremony in London, which will be broadcast on BBC Four.

The longlist of 23 books was chosen from 117 entries.

Chair of judges, Professor John Carey, said: "This is a strong and diverse longlist, with a pleasing component of new names.

"It reflects the passionate preferences of the individual judges, and it will be very tough reducing it to a shortlist."

Of the 23, debut novelist Gerard Donovan is better-known as a poet, while other first-time novelists are Mark Haddon and DCB Pierre, whose Vernon God Little satirises American gun culture.

Ze Heller
Ze Heller is recognised for her second novel

Amis' novel, centred on a father who suffers a personality transformation after being attacked, is his first full work of fiction since 1995's The Information.

But it has been described as "terrible" and "all over the place" in the press.

Former newspaper columnist Ze Heller makes the longlist for her second novel Notes on a Scandal, about a teacher who has an affair with a 15-year-old boy.

Coetzee has won the Booker twice before, while Atwood and Swift are both recent winners.

This year, Coetzee is listed for a book that picks up the story of novelist Elizabeth Costello, the character featured in his previous book The Lives of Animals.

And Swift's The Light of Day has been described as "an intense, noirish meditation on love and murder" by one critic.

Martin Amis
Amis' book is not yet published

Also on the shortlist is Caryl Phillips, for A Distant Shore.

Phillips' selection confirms the promise he first showed when named as the Sunday Times Writer of the Year in 1992 and selected for the 1993 Granta list of the Best of Young British Writers.

Melvyn Bragg also makes the longlist once more, for his 20th novel Crossing the Lines.

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Booker prize nominees longlist

  • Monica Ali for Brick Lane
  • Martin Amis for Yellow Dog
  • Margaret Atwood for Oryx and Crake
  • Carol Birch for Turn Again Home
  • Melvyn Bragg for Crossing the Lines
  • JM Coetzee for Elizabeth Costello
  • Julia Darling for The Taxi Driver's Daughter
  • Gerard Donovan for Schopenhauer's Telescope
  • Damon Galgut for The Good Doctor
  • Barbara Gowdy for The Romantic
  • Mark Haddon for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
  • Zo Heller for Notes on a Scandal
  • Francis King for The Nick of Time
  • Shena Mackay for Heligoland
  • Clare Morrall for Astonishing Splashes Of Colour
  • John Murray for Jazz etc
  • Julie Myerson for Something Might Happen
  • Tim Parks for Judge Savage
  • Caryl Phillips for A Distant Shore
  • DCB Pierre for Vernon God Little
  • Jonathan Raban for Waxwings
  • Graham Swift for The Light of Day
  • Barbara Trapido for Frankie & Stankie

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