Scottish author ‘could not be more thrilled’ after second Booker Prize nomination in six years

A leading Scottish author says he “could not be more thrilled” after being named in contention for the Booker Prize for the second time in six years.

Graeme Macrae Burnet is in the running for the Booker Prize for the second time in six years. Picture: John Devlin
Graeme Macrae Burnet is in the running for the Booker Prize for the second time in six years. Picture: John Devlin

Ayrshire-born Graeme Macrae Burnet said it was “incredibly gratifying” to have made the longlist for Britain’s most coveted literary prize with Case Study, his fourth novel.

The 1960s-set story focuses an unworldly young woman who believes that a charismatic psychotherapist has driven her sister to suicide.

She assumes a false identity and presents herself as a new client in a bid to uncover the truth.

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    The story unfolds through the experiences of the young woman, interspersed with a biography of the psychotherapist.

    Macrae Burnet, whose novel was published by Saraband, is one of just three British authors to be longlisted for this year’s Booker Prize, along with Maddie Mortimer and Alan Garner. The Scot made the shortlist in 2016.

    The 13-strong list was drawn from 169 eligible novels submitted by publishers.

    The rules of competition, which date back to 1969, were changed nine years ago to open it up to writers beyond the UK and the Commonwealth for the first time, providing they were writing in English and were published in the UK.

    Six American authors have made the longlist, with 20-year-old Leila Mottley the youngest ever writer to be in contention, alongside Hernan Diaz, Percival Everett, Karen Joy Fowler, Selby Wynn Schwartz and Elizabeth Strout.

    The Booker Prize judges said of Case Study: “‘A mystery story - or is it? - that takes us into the heart of the psychoanalytical consulting room. Or does it?

    “Interleaving a biography of radical ‘60s ‘untherapist’ Collins Braithwaite with the notebooks of his patient ‘Rebecca’, a young woman seeking answers about the death of her sister, ‘GMB’ presents a forensic, elusive and mordantly funny text(s) layered with questions about authenticity and the self.”

    Macrae Burnet, who was born in Kilmarnock and now lives in Glasgow, where he studied film and English literature: “I could not be more thrilled that Case Study has made it to the Booker longlist.

    “For your work to be deemed worthy of being in the running for such a prize is incredibly gratifying.

    "And all the more so to do it in partnership with the brilliant Saraband Books.”

    Saraband publisher Sara Hunt said: “Graeme has an uncommon skill for packing literary excellence and intelligent, surprising subject matter inside a true page-turner.

    "Case Study is a fantastic novel – playful, clever, stylish and witty, with emotional depth, and utterly captivating. I am so thrilled the judges have selected it for this prestigious longlist, and of course very happy for Graeme.”

    His agent, Isobel Dixon, said: “I’m so thrilled for Graeme and for Saraband, who have published with such passion, and excited that the prize will help introduce Graeme’s brilliant work to an even wider readership.”

    In his review of Case Study for The Scotsman, critic Allan Massie said: “As in his other novels, Macrae Burnet writes with an admirable lucidity, at the same time being able to probe and shed light on the dark places of the mind.

    "Writing in a prose that is spare, deadpan and yet alive, he poses questions about the nature and perception of what we choose to call reality. He is an uncommonly interesting and satisfying novelist.”

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