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Large US presence in race for Man Booker Prize

By Robert Dex

An epic 700-page retelling of the attempted assassination of Bob Marley is among 13 novels in the running for the Man Booker Prize.

Marlon James' A Brief History Of Seven Killings, which includes sections written in Jamaican patois, covers the attempted murder of the reggae star in 1976 and the rise of the drug trade on the island.

The writer, who lives in Minneapolis, is the first Jamaican-born novelist to be nominated.

The longlist, chosen by the judges from 156 books, also includes The Green Road by previous winner Anne Enright and acclaimed US novelist Anne Tyler's A Spool Of Blue Thread.

This is the second year the prize has been open to writers of any nationality writing in English and published in the UK, having previously been restricted to the UK and Commonwealth, Ireland and Zimbabwe.

The other US novels on the list are Bill Clegg's Did You Ever Have A Family; Laila Lalami's The Moor's Account; Marilynne Robinson's Lila, and Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life.

Two British writers shortlisted in previous years, Tom McCarthy and Andrew O'Hagan, feature for their respective novels Satin Island and The Illuminations.

Another UK writer, Sunjeev Sahota, is nominated for his second novel The Year Of The Runaways.

The list also includes The Fishermen by Nigerian Chigozie Obioma, Sleeping On Jupiter by Indian novelist Anuradha Roy and New Zealander Anna Smaill's The Chimes.

Bookmakers William Hill installed Yanagihara as the 3-1 favourite for the £50,000 prize.

UK literary agent David Godwin, speaking on Radio 4, said: "We all feared that Commonwealth writers would take a smaller role and British writers equally would be overwhelmed by the Americans. That's exactly what has happened."

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