Man Booker Prize longlist announced

Barnes, Hollinghurst and four debut novelists make it on to the list

The Man Booker longlist always sparks debate in the publishing world. This year will be no exception as a combination of established and new authors are included on the list. Julian Barnes and Sebastian Barry, despite both being shortlisted twice, have never won, while Alan Hollinghurst - longlisted for The Stranger's Child - won only two years ago for The Line of Beauty. The four debut authors are Stephen Kelman, A.D. Miller, Yvvette Edwards and Patrick McGuinness.

The full list is as follows:

Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending (Jonathan Cape - Random House)
Sebastian Barry, On Canaan's Side (Faber)
Carol Birch, Jamrach's Menagerie (Canongate Books)
Patrick deWitt, The Sisters Brothers (Granta)
Esi Edugyan, Half Blood Blues (Serpent's Tail - Profile)
Yvvette Edwards, A Cupboard Full of Coats (Oneworld)
Alan Hollinghurst, The Stranger's Child (Picador - Pan Macmillan)
Stephen Kelman, Pigeon English (Bloomsbury)
Patrick McGuinness, The Last Hundred Days (Seren Books)
A.D. Miller, Snowdrops (Atlantic)
Alison Pick, Far to Go (Headline Review)
Jane Rogers, The Testament of Jessie Lamb (Sandstone Press)
D.J. Taylor, Derby Day (Chatto & Windus - Random House)

Chair of judges, Dame Stella Rimington, has commented that, "We are delighted by the quality and breadth of our longlist...[which] ranges from the Wild West to multi-ethnic London via post-Cold War Moscow and Bucharest, and includes four first novels." The shortlist of six authors will be announced on Tuesday 6 September at a press conference at Man Group's London headquarters. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 18 October.

Pompidou Centre
Show Hide image

Harry Styles: What can three blank Instagram posts tell us about music promotion?

Do the One Direction star’s latest posts tell us about the future of music promotion in the social media age - or take us back to a bygone era?

Yesterday, Harry Styles posted three identical, captionless blank images to Instagram. He offered no explanation on any other social network, and left no clue via location serves or tagged accounts as to what the pictures might mean. There was nothing about any of the individual images that suggested they might have significance beyond their surface existence.

And, predictably, they brought in over a million likes – and thousands of Styles fans decoding them with the forensic dedication of the cast of Silent Witness.

Of course, the Instagrams are deliberately provocative in their vagueness. They reminded me of Robert Rauschenberg’s three-panelled White Painting (1951), or Robert Ryman’s Untitled, three square blank canvases that hang in the Pompidou Centre. The composer John Cage claimed that the significance of Rauschenberg’s White Paintings lay in their status as receptive surfaces that respond to the world around them. The significance of Styles’s Instagrams arguably, too, only gain cultural relevance as his audience engages with them.

So what did fans make of the cryptic posts? Some posited a modelling career announcement would follow, others theorised that it was a nod to a Taylor Swift song “Blank Space”, and that the former couple would soon confirm they were back together. Still more thought this suggested an oncoming solo album launch.

You can understand why a solo album launch would be on the tip of most fans’ tongues. Instagram has become a popular platform for the cryptic musical announcement — In April, Beyoncé teased Lemonade’s world premiere with a short Instagram video – keeping her face, and the significance behind the title Lemonade, hidden.

Creating a void is often seen as the ultimate way to tease fans and whet appetites. In June last year, The 1975 temporarily deleted their Instagram, a key platform in building the band’s grungy, black and white brand, in the lead up to the announcement of their second album, which involved a shift in aesthetic to pastel pinks and bright neons.

The Weekend wiped his, too, just last week – ahead of the release of his new single “Starboy”. Blank Instagrams are popular across the network. Jaden Smith has posted hundreds of them, seemingly with no wider philosophical point behind them, though he did tweet in April last year, “Instagram Is A BlackHole Of Time And Energy.”

The motive behind Harry’s blank posts perhaps seems somewhat anticlimactic – an interview with magazine Another Man, and three covers, with three different hairstyles, to go along with it. But presumably the interview coincides with the promotion of something new – hopefully, something other than his new film Dunkirk and the latest update on his beloved tresses. In fact, those blank Instagrams could lead to a surprisingly traditional form of celebrity announcement – one that surfaces to the world via the print press.

Anna Leszkiewicz is a pop culture writer at the New Statesman.