2014 Booker Prize Nominations: A Twitter Analysis

The longlist for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, the annual British literary prize presented for the best original English-language novel published in the UK, was released on Wednesday. A total of 13 novels were named to the longlist, five of which were penned by American authors. This is the first year that American authors have been named as nominees, as previously only authors from Britain, the British Commonwealth, Ireland, and Zimbabwe were eligible for the prize. We, at BookVibe, decided to assess the competition by taking a look at what people on Twitter are saying about the nominated novels.

Based on reader sentiment surrounding the novels, all the books seem to be deserving of their recent critical acclaim—as most readers have tweeted positively about the novels. However, one book on the longlist, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris, stands out for the sheer number of mentions on Twitter it has received. According to BookVibe data, the book has received nearly 1,000 mentions this year—significantly more mentions than any other book on the list. Many readers have said to have “connected” with the novel’s protagonist, an atheist dentist, who continues to question whether or not there is a higher being. In addition to positive sentiment, Ferris’s novel has maintained strong sales numbers since its release in May.

While David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks is not set to be released until September, those who have gotten their hands on advanced readers copies are praising the novel. Mitchell, who has had two earlier novels nominated for the Booker, has crafted yet another epic novel surrounding a cast of complex characters, including a runaway teen. For Mitchell with The Bone Clocks, the third time may be the charm in winning the Booker.

Siri Hustvedt’s The Blazing World, stands out among books on the longlist—not for the number of mentions it has received on Twitter, but rather the strong positive sentiment of those tweets. Hustvedt’s novel details a New York City artist’s decision to disguise her female identity in hopes of gaining the acknowledgement of critics. With positive endorsements like the tweet below, The Blazing World may very well emerge as the dark horse in this year’s Booker contest.



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