Stockport born Wyl Menmuir is one of four debut novelists to make the “Booker dozen” of 13 authors, for his novel The Many, which was written while he was studying at the Manchester School of writing.

The longlist also includes veterans JM Coetzee, Deborah Levy, AL Kennedy and Elizabeth Strout.

Wyl, who was born in Stockport and now lives in Cornwall, said: “Just after midday my phone started ringing, but I didn’t answer because I was having coffee with my grandma, who is 90, and she was telling me what she thought of the book, she had written me a review.

“When I picked up my messages it was Chris from my publishers, Salt, just shouting down the phone – it was a massive shock!”

The book had not previously been reviewed by any of the national newspapers – and although following the nomination interest has surged, Wyl said his grandma’s review would “always be the most special”. 

Wyl said it was hugely exciting to be longlisted, adding: “You always hope to get on some prize list, but I couldn’t have imagined it would be the Man Booker.”

The Many incorporates elements of gothic, horror, sci-fi and other genres to tell the story of a man who buys an abandoned house in an isolated coastal village only to find that increasingly unsettling events begin to occur.

“It’s quite dense and punchy – I hope it forces people to slow down and really think about what they’re reading,” Wyl said.


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