Colson Whitehead, Arundhati Roy among Man Booker contenders

FILE - In this Monday, June 12, 2017 file photo Indian novelist Arundhati Roy presents her book "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness" at the Parco della Musica Auditorium in Rome. American authors Paul Auster and Colson Whitehead are among 13 contenders for the prestigious Man Booker Prize for fiction. The list also includes a previous winner, India's Arundhati Roy. (Giorgio OnoratiANSA via AP, File)

LONDON — Paul Auster, Colson Whitehead and past winner Arundhati Roy are among contenders for this year's Man Booker Prize for fiction.

Auster's intimate epic "4 3 2 1" and Whitehead's fantasy-tinged historical saga "The Underground Railroad" are among four works by U.S. authors on the list, alongside Emily Fridlund's coming-of-age story "History of Wolves" and George Saunders' magical, mournful "Lincoln in the Bardo."

Roy, who won the prize in 1997 for "The God of Small Things," is in the running again with her long-awaited second novel, "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness."

Previous finalists on the 2017 list include Britain's Zadie Smith, for "Swing Time;" Ireland's Sebastian Barry, for "Days Without End;" and Pakistan's Mohsin Hamid, for "Exit West."

The 13 books announced Thursday were chosen from 144 novels submitted by publishers.

Literary critic Lola Young, chairwoman of the judging panel, said the list contained works of "huge energy, imagination and variety."

Founded in 1969 and originally open only to writers from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth, the Booker expanded in 2014 to include all English-language authors. Its first American winner was Paul Beatty's "The Sellout" in 2016.

The six finalists will be named Sept. 13, and the winner of the 50,000-pound ($65,000) prize will be announced on Oct. 17.

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